The mining industry is showing strong growth, comparable to 2012 boom levels. Yet with changes to the 457 visa affecting skilled migration, it’s important for businesses to start hiring local now to avoid skills shortages.
A recent employment report released by SEEK reveals that mining experienced the biggest new job growth in Australia in 2018 at 34%. Furthermore, profit in this sector has seen huge increases with top mining companies experiencing net profit growth of 126% last year. This marks a positive change for the industry as a whole. However, recent changes to skilled migration pathways that were proposed when growth had taken a downturn may affect our ability to meet the labour demand associated with a boom.
In April 2017 the list of eligible occupations for the 457 visa was significantly reduced. As of March 2018, the entire scheme has been replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa that is comprised of two streams: a short-term visa of up to two years with no pathway to permanent residency, and a medium-term visa of up to four years with the opportunity for permanent residency. There are also tighter eligibility requirements under the new visa, such as higher standards for English language skills and existing work experience necessary for applicants.
These changes were welcomed by the mining industry in 2017 under the job market conditions at the time. According to the Department Of Immigration, 457 visa applications in the mining and resource sector dropped from 6630 in 2011-12 to just 230 in 2016-17. Tightening visa regulations was deemed to have little impact on the industry as their reliance on foreign workers had dropped in post-boom years and the protection of Australian jobs was highly valued. Business owners were only concerned if another surge in labour demand would result in them requiring more skilled foreign workers than currently allowed.
With that very phenomenon on the horizon, it’s time for businesses to start hiring locally to address the demands of the current and future labour market. The best way to do this is to employ apprentices within your company, as you’ll be investing in workers that are trained to your business-specific standards. Apprentices are a great way to future-proof your business as well since you control the on-the-job training they receive, not to mention the range of government incentives that are available to employers.
With an apprentice, you have a commitment of 3-4 years, and with that comes loyalty and a pathway to long-term employment. Employing an apprentice is easy with The Apprenticeship Community’s recruitment service, connecting employers with apprentices and trainees for mining and all ranges of traditional trades.
Make sure your business comes out on top and avoid a labour shortage by investing in the future now.