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Australian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen announced on 2 April measures that will assist in matching Australian employers with skilled workers in the US to fill skill shortages in key sectors. The new measures will allow for much faster processing of skills assessments. Their hope is to lure more American plumbers, electricians and construction workers to immigrate to Australia.

"With the demand for skilled construction workers likely to peak over the next three to five years as a number of resource projects are due to commence, both governments recognise the potential to match that demand with the potential supply of workers in the US," an Australian Immigration department statement said.

The new measures would also allow workers from the US in licensed occupations, such as electricians and plumbers, to be allowed immediate access to provisional Australian licences on arrival. The faster skills assessment process will enable Australian employers to quickly make sure that US workers meet their requirements.

Currently, skilled workers from the US need to be assessed in Australia which can mean waiting months between entry and starting work. Under the new skills assessment process, expected to be implemented this month, US workers will be assessed against Australian regulatory requirements prior to entering Australia, giving applicants certainty that they can work in their trade when they arrive.

"Such assessments are available in other countries and it is only logical that we extend them to the US given their potential supply of workers and the interest of Australian employers," said the department statement.

Minister Bowen also added that the Australian Government would also be hosting its overseas program of Skills Australia Needs in the US for the first time in order to attract skilled workers in the resources and energy sectors. The expo will be held on 19 and 20 May 2012 in Houston, Texas.

"This initiative will provide information on skilled visa options to Americans with suitable qualifications, skills and experience and help them to work in Australia under a temporary employer-sponsored visa," Bowen said. "They will be able to meet with Australian employers and state and territory governments to discuss possible sponsorship and employment opportunities in Australia."

Bowen expects that by 2015 the civil engineering work force, which includes occupations such as electricians, will need to increase to 75,000 compared with the current work force of 35,000.

Individuals interested in immigrating to work in Australia may be eligible to apply under the popular Subclass 457 visa. In order to apply for Australia's 457 work visa individuals must:
be sponsored by an eligible employer.
• have skills, qualifications, and experience which match the requirements of the position.
• demonstrate English language proficiency.
• If relevant meet the licensing requirements for the particular occupation.
Government figures show that the number of 457 visa holders in Australia increased by 11 percent last year to 128,600. The US provided the fifth largest number of these temporary workers, with 6.2 percent of the total during 2011, after the UK, India, the Philippines and Ireland.
 

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That is great news for US workers that have the skills stated in these articles. But I wonder if the pay will be enough to lure them and for them to stay. Just commenting in regards to others that came from UK and another european country..only to be let go or not paid by the employer that brought them over that have been told in this forum.

I think Australia is interested in the US due to the economic situation that has happened in the US and some people are still unemployed. However, I think plumbers and electricians would still be in demand in the US whatever the economy would be. Just because at anytime anyone of us would have a problem in our house,etc. that we would need to hire one of them. Also, due to the recent tornadoes that have occurred in different states in the US that have destroyed many houses, the increase in plumbers, electricians, etc. would be in demand.

In addition, even though there might be jobs available in other states, some of these skilled workers are not willing to leave because of their family and their house can't be sold,etc. Or the wife or husband doesn't want to leave because they have a good job where they are and not a good prospect in the new state. Based on this observation, it would be interesting to see how many of these families would be lured to move to Australia. I would say, the salary package and benefits would have to be really good. A lot to think about. But easier for individuals that may not have a family.
 
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