Skill intake to help build AustraliaDOWNLOAD
Wednesday, 11 May 2011: As part of the Government’s strategy to address Australia’s burgeoning skills shortage, this year’s Federal Budget detailed an Enterprise Management Agreement (EMA) designed to assist Australian companies sourcing skilled foreign labour to meet the workforce demands of major infrastructure projects.
Professional services firm Deloitte believes the EMA will provide a major boost for infrastructure investment by streamlining the immigration requirements for companies that need to employ skilled foreign labour to work on projects with a capital investment of more than $2 billion.
Mark Wright, Partner and National Leader of Deloitte Immigration, said the EMA is only intended to address labour shortages arising throughout the lifecycle of specific projects and won’t allow companies to permanently deploy skilled foreign labour.
“Companies need certainty when planning to invest in major infrastructure projects, particularly in relation to their workforce,” he said. “In the current environment the skills shortage is becoming the key factor in determining the feasibility of projects.”
“The EMA will provide one avenue for companies to access some of the skilled workforce they need in the short to medium term. However, as our infrastructure needs grow, government and industry need to look at long term solutions that allow for both attraction and retention of the right skills.”
“Companies should not take the decision to source skilled labour from overseas lightly because it’s often more expensive and complex than sourcing that labour from the local market,” Mr Wright said.
“The level of expense and complexity involved in bringing in foreign skilled workers means companies need to consider whether the EMA will deliver the best outcome for their project.
Businesses need to undertake a sophisticated analysis of a number of issues including immigration, taxation planning (specifically living away from home allowances), workforce sourcing, training, participation and retention strategies if they are to gain the maximum benefits from this or any other skill building initiative.”
Deloitte’s Federal Budget 2011-12 website
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