Western Australia wants British and Irish skilled migrants

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Western Australia (WA) is sending a delegation to the United Kingdom and Ireland in a bid to lure British and Irish workers to migrate to the Australian state.

A plan to head off a shortfall of 150,000 skilled workers by 2017 was announced by Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier. The resources industry will be particularly badly affected by skills shortages as a number of mining projects get underway in the near future.

Collier and resource industry leaders will embark on a 10 day trip to the UK and Ireland. The trip will include trade shows and meetings with British and Irish government officials.

Collier said that a skills shortage in the resources industry would be felt across other WA sectors as well and it was vital to increase the number of immigrants gaining entry under skilled migration initiatives.

"While the Government's top priority is to ensure that jobs are filled from within WA, this alone will not be enough and targeted migration will be essential to boost our skilled labour needs," Collier said.

"Our goal is 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," he added.

Collier is lobbying the Australian federal government to make changes to the national skilled migration programme to help WA with it's skilled worker needs.