Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls has announced that the state will relax Australia visa requirements in order to attract more migrant workers to the area.
Other than Western Australia, the state of Queensland has benefited from the resources and mining boom more than all other states. However, Australia visa requirements are determined at state level, not federal level and Queensland has fallen way behind in numbers of skilled migrants.
Last financial year for example, 22,247 state-sponsored spots were filled across the country whilst Queensland sponsored just 212 skilled migration and business migration visas!
Under current visa policy, experience requirements are much stricter than in neighbouring states; an engineer wishing to live and work in Queensland is required to have has much as seven years’ experience, in Western Australia the same engineer would only require 12 months of experience.
In an attempt to ease the skill shortage in the resources industry in Queensland, the State Government will work with the Federal Government to offer more visas to overseas workers
Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was vital that Queensland took advantage of the economic opportunity the mining industry presented.
“The revenue opportunities for a state like ours are very limited. But one of the main revenue opportunities for this state is the royalty regime that is applied to the mining industry, principally the coal industry which is the biggest part.
While mining companies would welcome the boost to the skilled workforce, it doesn’t make up for the hike in royalties outlined in the Budget. The Queensland Government will increase royalty rates to 12.5% for coal valued between $100 and $150 a tonne and 15% thereafter.
Mining companies have condemned the move saying it will force investment elsewhere and cause job losses.