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WA calls for more migrant sheep shearers

by | Mar 22, 2012

As further evidence of the growing skills shortage in Western Australia, the WA Shearing Industry Association has called for the 457 visa programme to be expanded to allow migrant workers to fill the labour gap and help with seasonal demand. The Association is in discussions with Rural Skills Australia in an attempt to get shearing on the list of skills shortages so that migrant shearers might be eligible for a 457 visa. WASI President Darren Spencer says that there is already interest from migrant workers, more in fact than from native Australians. ‘I had an advert in the paper last week and I’ve had 10 Irish call me, as well as a few other nationalities, and I only had two Aussies call’, claims Spencer. Spencer claims there are many overseas workers, particularly from Scotland, who are wanting to come and put their skills to use in Western Australia but are facing unnecessary restrictions. ‘If the government was able to remove some of the red tape surrounding obtaining a visa it would help solve some of the skills shortage in the shearing industry’, Spencer says. ‘The 457 visa that is already available for migrants is inadequate because the work available is not continuous.’

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