US combat veterans and highly skilled American workers will be enticed to come to WA under a resource industry-driven migration program aimed at plugging critical shortages in jobs vital to the State's mining boom.
To attract US engineers, surveyors, logistics experts and other skilled workers, the Federal Government will hold expos, beginning in Houston, Texas, next month. As well as targeting US professionals and tradies struggling to find work, the Skills Australia Needs roadshow will also be geared at Americans leaving the US military after service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With resource project expansion peaking in Australia over the next three to five years, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA says the Pilbara will need 34,000 extra workers - 27,000 in construction.
Companies including BHP Billiton and Chevron are enthusiastically backing the idea after benefiting from a successful surge in Irish and British temporary migrant workers over the past 18 months.
Skills Minister Chris Evans said temporary skilled workers from the US would be accredited before they came to Australia. "The American skill base, similar occupational health and safety standards, English language, all those things, make for a good fit," he said.
"They are well trained, speak English and they understand our work culture."
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said that before Australian jobs were "off-shored" there should be thorough market testing of the labour needs via an independent jobs board that advertised all vacancies