Australia needs as many as 2.4 million skilled employees over the next four years, and it is looking to India to fill part of this skills shortage.
The demand, mostly driven by Australia’s booming mining sector, will be met by training more than 100,000 Indians, and hiring about 30,000 Australia-educated indians.
This is part of a joint initiative between the two countries.
India initiated the training project with Australia in an effort that is expected to fill India’s own need of one million skilled labour for its mining activities.
The initiative is also supported by the tertiary colleges in Australia, as well as by the Australian mining industry, according to a report in Australia’s business newspaper, ‘Australian Financial Review’.
Australia expects this cooperation model to be replicated in other countries. Austrade was working with the mining sector and India’s skills development group on the scheme which could become a model for other industries in other countries, Peter Linford, Australia’s senior trade official in India, told the newspaper.
While the Indian students will be hired “on the same conditions as Australians”, they will be subject to Australian immigration rules, the report said.
However, the Australian government was quick to address any concerns of Australian citizens losing potential job opportunities to Indians. Treasurer Wayne Swan told the Australian Associated Press that the government’s priority was to train Australians first and foremost for jobs but skilled migrants would be needed.
“What the government is going to do is train Australians. … we’re going to make sure that Australians can participate in the benefits of the boom.”
In the last few years, Indians in Australia, especially Indian students, have suffered many physical attacks. While Indian media have painted the attacks as “racist”, the Australian opinion of the attacks has been much more moderate, often describing the acts of violence as crime.
However, sources in Australia have told The Global Indian that there is a strong sense of resentment among Australians about the job losses that Australian citizens blame on migrants, especially from India.
The Australian government hasn’t announced any measures to address potential racial backlash that Indians may suffer when 30,000 of them take up skilled jobs in Australia.
The number of students going to Australia to study had dropped following the racial attacks on Indians in Australia.
Despite the media coverage about the racial attacks, there is a growing group of Indians emigrating to Australia, and University of Sydney is one of the top destinations for Indians keen to study in Australia.
Indian students continue moving to Australia in search of a better life, something they find lacking in India.
The international education sector in Australia is valued at about AU$15 billion annually.