Australia needs meat workers

The Australian government has launched a new drive to attract meat migrants to Western Australia.

Skilled meat workers will be granted temporary entry under a three-year labour agreement finalised by Kevin Andrews, minister for immigration and citizenship, and Margaret Quirk, West Australian minister for Small Business.

A national umemployment rate of 4.4% and 2.7% in Western Australia has resulted in a temporary shortage of skilled workers in the meat industry.

To be party to the agreement employers must commit to training Australian workers. There will be strict skills assessments and a minimum salary requirement of AU$41,850 or £17,500 (the standard minimum salary level) or the relevant industrial instrument, whichever is higher.

The Australian government hope that the new agreement will provide West Australian meat compaines with a temporary solution to the shortage of skilled meat workers while at the same time ensuring that the jobs of Australian workers are protected.

Australia will spend an extra $85.3m over the next four years to maintain the integrity of the temporary skilled migration programme and help prevent breaches of the system. The Australian government is introducing fast-tracking of applications for employers who have a strong and demonstrated record of complying with the 457 visa programme.