The Western Australian Government has released its Skilled Migration Strategy, introducing a range of measures to augment the State’s workforce with the skills that could not be met by the local labour force.


Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier said that while the top priority was to provide training opportunities and other strategies to help them fill high-skilled vacancies with local people, targeted migration would still be necessary to meet skilled labour needs.


“We need to explore all options for not just increasing the participation of our local population, but also adding to the labour pool by attracting skilled workers from overseas and other parts of Australia.


The Skilled Migration Strategy has been developed in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce (WA) and Chamber of Minerals and Energy, with consultation with other industry, government and community stakeholders.


It focuses on the six key themes of:

  • delivering a more consistent and integrated planning approach to skilled migration
  • providing easily accessible, high-quality information on skilled migration
  • developing attraction and retention strategies to ensure WA has the skilled workforce needed to support sustainable economic growth
  • refining migration processes to support a more flexible and responsive migration program
  • implementing a range of settlement services to support skilled migrants to integrate into the local workforce
  • maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the Federal Government to positively influence policy direction and ensure the migration needs of WA are met.

“This strategy builds on the Memorandum of Understanding on State Sponsored Skilled Migration I signed last year with the Federal Government. It allows for the State to sponsor 6,000 skilled migrants this year for high demand occupations,” the Minister said.


“In addition, I met recently with the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to discuss the national migration program and how it can best serve the needs of WA employers.”


Mr Collier said the State’s economy was on the cusp of another period of sustained growth, driven by an estimated $225billion worth of resource and infrastructure projects that were either under construction, committed or under consideration.


Almost 240,000 new jobs are expected to be created in WA by 2017. With natural population growth and current migration levels, it is forecast that this will still leave a shortfall of about 150,000 workers required in WA in the next six years.


“This growth will present significant challenges for government, industry and the community as the demand for skilled labour to service the State’s growing industries places pressure on many sectors of the economy,” the Minister said.


Other state government initiatives that address the skills shortage include:

  • Skilling WA - A workforce development plan for Western Australia’, a whole-of-government blueprint that provides a strategic framework to develop a skilled workforce for the future
  • the ‘Training together-working together’ strategy to improve training and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people;

*       investment of nearly $25million for almost 8,000 additional training places in 2011, in addition to the 7,600 new training places funded in the 2010-11 State Budget

  • working with employers to pilot models for a more flexible and responsive apprenticeship and traineeship system
  • establishing a series of Workforce Development Centres across the State, including those targeting employers and Aboriginal workers
  • ‘Training WA: Planning for the future 2009-2018’, a policy paper which outlines targeted strategies to transform the State’s training system for the next decade.