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Miners turn to agencies to deal with visas

Miners turn to agencies to deal with visas

Many employers who are trying to hire skilled labour from overseas are turning to recruitment agencies to handle the complex paperwork involving immigration visas and sponsorships.

According to the organisers of a resources and infrastructure trade show, which takes in Western Australia next month, delays in processing applications are prompting companies to seek external help.

The resources and infrastructure sector also has to contend with unions up in arms over the hiring of skilled labour from overseas, with the perception that they’re poaching jobs from locals.

The unions in particular are vigilant in ensuring that all foreign workers are in stringent compliance with their visas and ensuring there is no abuse of the system.

The vast scope of mining and resources projects in Western Australia mean that importing a labour force could be the only way of effectively completing a project. Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project in the Pilbara means that she’ll be bringing in 1,700 workers from overseas to ensure the project goes to plan.

Government initiatives looking at developing skills in the mining and resources sector such as ‘Training WA and Skilling WA’ aim to increase the number of skilled workers over the next decade, but in the interim, foreign workers are being imported much to the chagrin of the unions.

But these protests might be without foundation as a study by the Edith Cowan Law Faculty showed that of 457 mining sector jobs filled by overseas workers, not one of them was taking a position that an Australian could fill.

The study which was part funded by The Australian Mines and Metals Association, looked at some roles within mining projects, such as a helicopter engineer, a role which could only be filled by someone who’d had training in England or France.

Ultimately the study found that some roles in the mining industry needed to be filled by overseas workers, simply because of the highly specialised nature of the job, and the training required, which could only be completed overseas.

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