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Australia terms Kolkata expo a great success

Written by: Staff

Sydney, Mar 27: The organisers of a migration expo recently held in Kolkata, to recruit skilled Indian labour to fill Australia's growing labour market shortage, has termed it a great success.

''Many of the employers at the expo told my department they needed workers with specific skills, experience and qualifications in the resource industry,'' Australia's Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone said in a statement.

''My department has invited the 800 skilled workers who attended the expo from a potential pool of thousands,'' the Minister, who attended the expo held on March 10-11, said.

''The expo gave the exhibitors - including nine Australian employers and their representatives and three state governments - the opportunity to interview potential employees at one place,'' Senator Vanstone said.

Ms Vanstone, who also holds Multicultural Affairs portfolio, was particularly impressed with the rich Indian skill base and the response to the Kolkata expo.

''I am very pleased with the attendance and high quality of the skills shown by the people at the expo. We can help find qualified workers overseas for those positions unable to be filled by Australians. I encourage other employers experiencing the skills drought to get on board for future expos,'' she said.

Even though Australia is riding on a resources driven economic boom, there are number of industries which are feeling stifled due to a shortage of skilled workers.

Overcoming a stiff resistance from various interest groups, in May last year, the Australian government announced 20,000 additional places for the Skill Stream of the 2005-06 Migration Programme.

The number of skilled professionals who can immigrate to Australia is almost 100,000 now.

India is among the countries being targeted to recruit skilled professionals for mining, health, construction and number of other industries.

The Australian Immigration Department is organising events in the target countries to reach the potential immigrants in the most effective way.

The Kolkata expo was planned by the Australian government in response to a call from employers to help address critical skill shortages which are even worse in the regional areas.

Earlier, a similar expo was organised in Chennai. Expos were also held in London, Amsterdam, Berlin and in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth in Australia.

Eleven more expos, according to the Immigration Department, are being held around the world and another five in Australia this year.

This year expos will be hosted in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Detroit, Houston, Sao Paulo, Lima, Dubai, Dublin, Manchester and London and in Australia in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.


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