Unemployed Australian engineers and current migrant engineers are asking why their professions are being listed on the Australian Government’s skilled migrant list.
The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) exists to allow skilled migrants to come to Australia to meet demand for certain occupations that are not currently being met by the local workforce. Department of Education and Training statistics show that there has not been a shortage of engineering professions in recent years, yet 22 engineering professions remain on the SOL for another year.
“We think it’s a cruel hoax to those migrant engineers who are facing very significant costs financially and personally to come to Australia to be then left on the scrap heap,” Association of Professional Engineers Australia CEO Chris Walton told The Huffington Post Australia.
“Many migrant engineers are struggling now at double the unemployment rates of Australian-born engineers, the obvious question arises: why would we be exacerbating the problem through bringing in more engineers?
“Where does that leave the migrant engineers already here or the Australian graduates? The answer is a large HECS debt and little opportunity to progress their professions and that’s a double whammy because once you graduate, you are not a competent engineer.”
Professionals Australia members have also voiced their concerns to the issue, with many citing difficulties in finding any kind of relevant work to their field. Both Australian born and migrant engineers are faced with immense competition, with not enough jobs to go around, and many larger employers utilising 457 temporary work visas instead of developing the skills of thelocal workforce.
The Association of Professional Engineers Australia has written an open letter to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, to justify the inclusion of the occupations on the SOL.
To add your name in support to the campaign or to read the letter, click here.
To read the Huffington Post article, click here.