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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Skilled migrant system will never work for construction

Media release

Skilled migrant system will never work for construction

Media release
“Australia is not bringing enough skilled migrants into Australia to build 170,000 homes per year let alone the 240,000 homes that we need to be building to address the acute housing shortages being faced,” HIA Managing Director, Jocelyn Martin said today.

“The skilled migrant system needs a complete overhaul. The visa options available for construction are not working.

"Data from the Department of Home Affairs shows just 1,346 workers in construction trades have been granted temporary work visas in the nine months to March 2024.

“The shortage of skilled workers is a major impediment to the supply of housing. Labour shortages are resulting in project delays which add to the cost of construction. 

“Risks associated with labour shortages are causing businesses to shelve projects that could deliver the housing that Australia needs. 

“The residential building industry is just one part of Australia’s construction landscape. Businesses in the housing industry are competing with businesses delivering commercial buildings and infrastructure construction projects, and the  mining industry. 

“This competition has become even more fierce given the growth in government investment in projects linked to the transition to clean energy, and the long list of other infrastructure projects underway around the country. 

“Australia’s 1.2 million housing supply target can only be achieved if the capacity of the construction industry continues to grow and meet the needs of all these sectors. 

“Providing career opportunities for local workers should always be the priority, however, this alone will not see the workforce grow quickly enough. 

“The skilled migration system has a role to play in enabling businesses to source workers from overseas to supplement the local workforce and fill skills gaps when they arise. 

“The temporary work visa system was touted as a demand driven system, however, it is anything but. 

“The rebound in immigration as borders reopened included a lift in the number of construction trades workers with temporary work visas returning to Australia. However, the numbers arriving are still very small and very few are sponsored by businesses in the residential building industry. 

“If the Government is truly committed to seeing the Housing Accord target achieved more must be done to train local workers and enable industry to make better use of the skilled migration system,” concluded Ms Martin.

For more information please contact:

Jocelyn Martin

Managing Director

Joe Shanahan

Manager, Communications & Media
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