By Neena Bhandari, IANS
Sydney : If you have the right skills and qualifications, you could make Australia home sooner than ever.
The government here is all set to ease out the evaluation of the skilled migrant workers by setting up assessments centres in India and other countries.
Electricians, cable jointers, power line persons, plumbers, motor mechanics, refrigerator and air conditioner mechanics, carpenters, joiners and bricklayers from India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Britain and the Philippines will benefit from the service.
A consortium led by Vetassess (Vocational Education Training and Assessment Services), including the state of Victoria and West Australia Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges, will assess trade skills of interested migrants in these countries.
Australian Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Joe Hockey Tuesday said, "The new service means more certainty for migrants and employers. It comes as a result of extensive consultation with industry and state and territory governments."
Applications from prospective migrants will be accepted from Sep 1, 2007.
"During the second half of this year all prospective migrants with trade skills will be tested to agreed Australian standards before migrating," said Kevin Andrews, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
"The new service will include an assessment of qualifications, skills and licensing requirements to make it easier for skilled migrants to work immediately upon arrival in Australia. This will also assist in meeting industry demands," Andrews said.
Australia's skilled migration programme is designed to attract young, highly skilled people, with a high level of English language skills.
Currently, people applying as skilled migrants have to send their paperwork, including details of their training and qualifications to Australia for assessment. Under the new system, these assessments will be carried out in their home country.
In recent years, skilled labour shortages, especially in the resources and construction sectors, have been a significant constraint on the Australian economy.
Skilled migrants have filled about a third of the 460,000 jobs created over the past two years. On average, the addition of a migrant to the workforce creates one additional job.
From 3,700 in 1995-96, the number of Indian migrants jumped to 11,286 in 2005-2006, reflecting the growth in the skilled migration programme. In 2004-05, the skill stream of the migration programme had an outcome of 77,880 people. This increased to 97,340 in 2005-06 representing about 68 percent of the migration programme.
The Australian migration program is point-tested with a strong focus on attracting skilled people and those who agree to live in regional areas.
People applying for skilled migration qualify for 15 extra points if their nominated occupation is on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) at the time when their application is assessed.
The MODL includes managers and administrators, professionals in the fields of building and engineering, accountants, medical and nursing, hospitality, textile, clothing and hairdressing.
Manasi Mohil from Chandigarh enrolled in the professional beauty and hairdressing course at the Chisholm Institute of TAFE in Melbourne.
The two-year course costs around 27,000 Australian dollars. "I enjoyed hairdressing and this course also gives me job opportunities as well as extra points for permanent residence in Australia", says Manasi.