Welcome mat rolls out for 300 skilled migrants

Hamish Heard
Geelong’s skilled labour pool has grown by 300 workers courtesy of a new State Government strategy to address a skills shortage affecting the region.
The additional hands belong to migrants drawn to regional Victoria under a skilled migration strategy to fill skills shortfalls in areas including trades, health, engineering and business services.
City of Greater Geelong rolled out the official welcome mat for the workers at a function last week.
The city’s economic development portfolio holder, councillor Shane Dowling, told more than 200 guests at the event that skilled migration was a “key measure” for tackling Australia’s ageing workforce.
“The program has been very successful for Geelong, resulting in skilled workers filling skill shortages in areas such as trades, the health sector, engineering and business services,” Cr Dowling said.
Michael Martinez, chief executive at Geelong migrant services provider Diversitat, also spoke at the function, acknowledging the “enormous contribution” skilled migrants were making to the prosperity and development of the region.
Mr Martinez highlighted that Geelong was in competition with many other cities around the world for skilled labour.
“Geelong’s unique cultural and social fabric will play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining the range of workforce skills we require in the region,” he said.
City of Greater Geelong has managed the Department of Victorian Communities’ Regional Migration Incentive Fund for the past three years.
The program seeks to attract a larger share of the skilled migrants arriving in Australia into regional Victoria with the aim of addressing skill shortages across the state.
Geelong is one of 11 regions participating in the program.
Geelong’s council and Diversitat are providing input into the second phase of the scheme, the Victorian Skilled Migration Strategy 20082011.

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