Why Australia’s Mining Industry Needs Skilled Migration

The demand for workers in the mining sector is at its highest level since the previous boom-time peak in 2013. Australian Resources and Energy Group, AMMA, have projected that 21,000 new workers are required by 2024 due to 57 new projects in the pipeline worth $41 billion. With local talent shortages already apparent and as new projects come to fruition, skilled migration is essential to securing the volume and calibre of talent that businesses need. Take a look at how organisations can harness migration to bridge skill shortages and maintain their competitiveness.
Talent required for Australia’s new mining growth
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott recently stated that Australia’s mining industry is “facing new workforce demand at levels not seen since the previous investment and construction ‘boom’ “. [i]
This is supported by recently released data from SEEK which reveals that Australia’s mining, resource and energy sector has consistently recorded the largest growth in job advertisements for the past 11 months. The sector is now producing 32 per cent more job ads compared to the same time last year, and is posting almost four times as many job ads than the national average. [ii]
 The new mining jobs expected to be created by 2024, include: 8660 mining plant operators; 2847 heavy diesel fitters; 4110 supervisors and other white-collar roles; 4180 engineers, technicians, geologists and related roles; and 970 other trades, such as electrical, mechanical and maintenance workers. [iii]
State-by-state analysis shows Western Australia will have the greatest new mining workforce demand, with 30 projects requiring 10,679 operational employees by 2024. Queensland is second, and will require 5714 new mining employees, driven by a number of large coal projects launching over the next four years.
 Entity Solutions helped facilitate Australia’s last mining boom through the mobilisation of overseas and contingent talent, and we urge businesses in the sector to prepare their strategy now to combat fierce competition as projects mount and demand rises.
Rewind to 2011, and AMMA Chief Executive Steve Knott echoed a sentiment that is even more relevant in today’s mining climate. He asserted that “despite the best efforts of both industry and government to train more workers, the stark reality is that we need overseas workers to fill the gaps and progress our resource projects”. [iv]
How can skilled migration help?
Once a need is established and local talent has been exhausted, you may be wondering what the skilled migration options are for mining professionals and the organisations seeking to engage them. For the short to medium term projects characteristic of the sector, the 400 Visa and 482 Visa are highly suitable options, and they’re easier for hiring organisations and candidates to obtain than you may think.
The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) is sensitive to the ongoing need for overseas skills to support Australian businesses and Australian economic objectives. The Temporary Skilled Shortages Visa Schemes – known as the TSS/482 visas – are designed to connect people to projects, and the process for sponsoring workers has become far easier in recent years. If you are a lawfully operating business with a genuine need for skill that is in shortage, you are eligible. And with the right assistance to put forward a strong application, this scheme is a streamlined process for employer and worker.
An alternative offered by the Australian Government for shorter term work or business needs can be accessed under the Short Term Specialist Stream; otherwise referred to as the 400 visa.  It is perfect for specialists required to participate in short term project work (generally a maximum of 3 months) and provides an inexpensive and relatively fast processing time to get required skills for assignments with urgency.
Here’s a case study example of how Entity Migration secured a visa for one of our customers in the mining sector:

As we’ve explored above, there is good reason for skilled professionals and organisations to feel encouraged by the migration pathways in place. Furthermore, it’s also worth noting that the government is currently reviewing the skilled migrant visa list, which signals a possible increase to the scope for mining skillsets and the ease of entry for candidates. It points to the government’s evolving recognition of the crucial role that skilled migration plays in addressing the skills shortage, so watch this space.
If you operate within the mining space and want some migration advice tailored to your business circumstances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
[i] https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/more-than-20-000-extra-mining-workers-needed-by-2024-report-20190916-p52rql.html
[ii] https://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/thousands-of-mining-jobs-are-waiting-in-western-au/3476304/
[iii] https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/australian-mining-needs-21000-new-jobs-by-2024/
[iv] https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/skilled-migration-for-the-mining-industry/

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