The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of a visa application fee rebate for international students and backpackers coming to Australia.
Under the announcement, the $630 fee for international students will be covered for the next eight weeks, while the fee for backpackers will be covered for the next 12 weeks.
CME Chief Executive Paul Everingham said the rebate would provide an important incentive amid a skills squeeze that has impacted many industries across the country.
“As research commissioned by CME last year outlined, WA’s mining and resources sector could face a shortfall of 40,000 workers within two years if the situation is left unaddressed,” Mr Everingham said.
“The reopening of borders into WA on February 5 will be a very important first step towards alleviating some of these skills pressures, providing access to labour pools interstate and overseas that industry has traditionally been able to call on in times of need.
“International entrants are likely to react positively to initiatives like this visa rebate, which will remove one of the potential barriers associated with travelling to Australia.
“The backpackers among them will provide an important labour source for the agricultural, retail and hospitality sectors in particular, which may in turn free up other workers to pursue opportunities in mining.
“Many of the students, meanwhile, will be studying subjects that will equip them with knowledge and skills that will very much be required by our sector, both in the short and longer terms.
“CME and its member companies are very much committed to helping prepare the mining and resources sector workforce of the future, and students benefiting from this rebate will be part of that.”