State migration shake-up aims to attract skilled foreign workers to WA


The state government has made changes to its migration program with the aim of making Western Australia the state of choice for skilled workers moving to Australia.

The temporary changes to WA’s Skilled Migration Pathway are expected to be implemented over the next month and were introduced following comments made directly to Prime Minister Mark McGowan during his recent trip to Europe, the UK and in Qatar.

Mr McGowan said WA’s strong economic growth, very low unemployment and strong demand for skilled workers meant there was a need to attract in-demand workers to sustain the economy.

“Changes to the state-appointed migration program will build on our work to boost skilled migration in high-demand areas by facilitating migration to WA,” he said.

“We have been successful in advocating for WA’s needs nationally, and the Australian Jobs and Skills Summit will give me another opportunity to address issues managed by the Commonwealth Government.

“I will continue to work to strengthen our state’s access to skilled workers, from skilled migration, investment in the care sector and boosting labor market participation to targeted incentives to encourage retirees to re-entering the labor market.

The McGowan government will change the state’s nomination criteria by introducing some temporary measures, including waiving the $200 application fee, halving the requirement to have a 12-month employment contract to six months , reduced requirements for applicants to demonstrate sufficient funds, removal of additional English language requirements for professional and management occupations, and reduced work experience requirements for the 2022-23 year.

The moves also coincide with WA securing an increased allocation of places in the Commonwealth Government’s state-appointed Migration Scheme, following advocacy by the state government.

WA received 8,140 places for 2022-23, 4,950 more than the previous year and the third-largest overall allocation, after New South Wales and Victoria.

To capture all priority industries, the state has increased skilled migration eligible occupations in Western Australia by approximately 60% based on industry feedback.

The additions include 46 health professions and bring the total list to 276 professions.

Regional skills needs are catered for with 33 of the new occupations aligned with four Designated Area Migration Agreements in place across WA regions to respond to unique regional economic and labor market conditions.

This will provide a permanent migration route for skilled migrants already working in the WA region.

Education and Skills Minister Sue Ellery said the updates were targeted changes aimed at attracting more skilled migrants to the state in the short term, and would be reviewed as challenges in of State powers would be reduced.

“Training local residents to work in priority skilled areas remains our number one long-term approach,” she said.

In July, the state launched a new Skilled Migrant Employment Registry to connect skilled migrants to AO jobs.

This free register is accessible through the Migration WA portal and has been designed to help skilled migrants settle in WA while giving employers visibility into new talent.

This complements the state’s $195 million Reconnect WA program, which includes initiatives to attract foreign skilled workers, backpackers and international students to the state.

With several international advertising campaigns underway to attract workers in key sectors including building and construction, manufacturing, healthcare, tourism and agriculture, the changes are aimed at strengthening WA’s position in the international market and National Skilled Worker.

This week’s Australian Jobs and Skills Summit will provide new opportunities for the state government to raise issues vital to workforce participation in WA.

For more information and to access the migration portal, visit migration.wa.gov.au

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