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Make and remake

Recent natural disasters have, if anything, increased opportunities for British engineers to work in Australia. Marissa Lynch reports.

Australia seems poised to make the most of its strong economic position to ensure nationally significant infrastructure programmes continue despite recent environmental disasters.

Following the extensive flooding in Queensland and Victoria and a large cyclone in northern Queensland, engineers are in more demand than ever.

Skills gaps

In the past, foreign engineers have filled skills gaps, and this looks set to continue.

The Australian National Engineer Taskforce’s report Scoping Our Future: Addressing Australia’s Engineering Skills Shortage released late last year, shows that skilled migrant engineers account for more than half of the country’s newly qualified engineers. Last year, shortages of civil engineers were apparent in every state and territory, although employers in Victoria filled their vacancies relatively easily.
Official figures show that employers in Queensland experienced the greatest difficulty recruiting in 2010.
Queensland will also face a renewed demand for civil engineering professionals in 2011 as a result of the floods and the subsequent need to rebuild infrastructure.

Furthermore, Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, has begun an international campaign to attract UKengineers to help rebuild the flood-ravaged city.

Economic impact

Although the flooding has had an economic impact on the whole of the country, it seems unlikely that more than a few projects will cancelled or reprioritised.

In addition, the Australians are trying to make it easier for foreign engineers to emigrate.

As part of a package of measures to assist in flood reconstruction, the Australian government has announced priority processing for decision-ready temporary business visa applications (known as the 457 visa).

More information on relocating to Australia can be found through Engineers Australia, which is the Australian authority responsible for assessing overseas engineering qualifications against the Australian standard required for professional engineers. A positive skills assessment issued by Engineers Australia does not guarantee a visa or employment in Australia.

  • More information on the skill assessment process and contact details, visit the Engineers Australia website at www.engineersaustralia.org.au

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