« Skilled American workers to get pre-entry assessments »

It has been announced that American skilled migrants will be able to have their visa applications pre-assessed - before travelling to Australia - in new plans designed to attract workers from the US.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, has announced the new arrangements owing to the expected peak in demand for skilled construction workers expected to peak over the next three to five years.

The new skills assessment process will allow US workers to be assessed against Australian regulatory requirements before entering Australia, providing certainty to applicants and employers. This means that workers from the US in licensed occupations, such as electricians and plumbers, to be granted immediate access to provisional Australian licences on arrival. More broadly, the skills assessment process will assure Australian employers how the skills of US workers align with their needs.

Currently, such workers need to be assessed onshore which can mean waiting months between entry and starting work. In his press release Mr Bowen also noted that, 'Such assessments are available in other countries and it is only logical that [the government] extend them to the US given their potential supply of workers and the interest of Australian employers.'

Skills Australia Needs in the USA

To support employers in linking with potential skilled workers, Minister Bowen said the Australian Government had also decided to run its overseas program of Skills Australia Needs expos in the United States for the first time to attract skilled workers in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors.

'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,' Mr Bowen said. A similar event is run in London for the UK labour market.

The expo will be held on May 19 and 20 in Houston, Texas.

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