‘To build more houses we need more people’ - HIA

A FURORE has erupted in Western Australia over the perceived poor performance of the state’s Construction Visa Subsidy Program – a program that was only launched by the Western Australian Government in July last year.

In July 2023 the WA State Government launched a targeted program to support WA employers who were interested in attracting migrants with construction skills to Australia.

The WA Government took this step as a result of the Federal Government slashing State Nominated Migration Visas from 8140 to 2350 in the middle of a housing and a skills crisis.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) WA executive director Michael McGowan said HIA supports the program as one of several initiatives to help build more homes.

“This is a long-term investment to build more homes in WA,” Mr McGowan said. 

“Skilled migration has not been something that WA building companies have traditionally engaged in, but for those that have, the feedback has been extremely positive.

“Money is only one part of the migration solution, you have to find a suitable candidate and navigate a complex Federal migration system before that person can travel and start work in Australia.

“What we have seen is WA employers dipping their toes in the water to see how it works. It has worked, and we now expect most of the 1100 spots to be taken up and workers arriving in Australia over the next 12 months,” Mr McGowan said.

“Our industry has been built on a foundation of migrants moving to Australia looking for a new life and this program continues the tradition.

“Our housing challenges aren't going away anytime soon, so investing in a steady flow of skilled migrants while also funding 450 apprentices into the residential building industry is a responsible long-term approach,” he said.

“Of course we would like these people here sooner, but for those navigating it for the first time there are some unknowns that need to be worked through.

“The Federal Government also needs to speed up their processes and increase transparency with our builders and contractors who have people around the world waiting to come to WA.

“HIA held a construction visa information session at the beginning of May that was attended by more than 60 employers, and as success stories continue to filter through the industry the interest levels continue to increase,” Mr McGowan said.



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