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Perth to be reclassified as a ‘Regional Area’ for certain visa subclasses

A major announcement has been made by Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen that Perth will be reclassified as a “Regional Area” for certain visa subclasses. Typically this will make it less difficult for employers to engage overseas workers under the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme or RSMS. The Department of Immigration has also advised on their website that reclassification of Perth as a regional area may extend to certain skilled visa classes.

Perth will be labeled a country town by the Federal Government as part of an extraordinary move to attract desperately needed workers to the city. The move will ease the way for businesses to bring in more skilled and semi-skilled foreign workers to fill occupations such as child care, aged care and scaffolding. The program will result in Perth being included in the Government’s regional sponsored migration scheme, giving the city’s employers access to a potential national pool of 16,000 sponsored visa places for foreign workers.

Mr Bowen, announcing the measure at a mining conference in Perth, said there were simply not enough workers to meet high levels of demand. Workers coming to Perth under the program will be able to become permanent residents and businesses applying for the visa places will be given priority in the processing of their applications. The scheme lowers the benchmark of English language requirement for eligible workers, while the demands on employers regarding salary thresholds are also lower than under other forms of skilled work visas.

The State Government has been lobbying Canberra to allow Perth’s inclusion in the scheme, warning WA faces a shortage of up to 150,000 skilled workers by 2017 as major resource projects get underway.


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