The IIA was delighted to be invited to speak with the Premier of Western Australia, the Honourable Mark McGowan MLA and the Agent General for Western Australia Mr John Langoulant AO in Dublin at the weekend. Our discussion revolved around the sharing of ideas on how to quickly ease the current skills shortages in Western Australia and reduce the barriers to entry. Paula McGeown Director and Co-founder of the IIA, shared with the Premier the current issues in independent and state-sponsored migration and how these could be addressed with suggestions of simple policy changes. Among other points, Paula had the opportunity to raise with the Premier the barriers that can be easily overcome including the possibility of removing the need to have an employment contract in place and settlement funds in order to apply for a state nomination to migrate to Western Australia.
We also had the opportunity to share ideas on innovations that we have seen to be successful in terms of new visa streams and immigration policies in other countries in recent years. Other suggestions we brought to the table including the ability to undertake skills assessments onshore with a visa already in place, expanding the state nomination occupation list to include enrolled nursing staff to help alleviate the health skills shortage quickly and allowing working holiday visa holders to undertake formal long term training to gain a recognised qualification whilst in the country.
There was good news to be heard from the Premier in that Western Australia is very keen to attract skilled migrants, working holiday visa applicants, business investments and tourists to the state and would like to get the message out that WA is very much open, the economy is booming and there are jobs and a great lifestyle waiting for those that are interested in a new life there. He also let us know that the new Prime Minister of Australia is committed to resourcing the Department of Home Affairs visa processing centres to deal with the significant visa application backlog and speed up visa processing times and that this is already in motion.
The IIA has committed to working closely with the Western Australian Government through the Agent General’s office in the UK as well as the Premier’s office in Western Australia.