JOBS — SKILLED
679. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Leader of the House
representing the Premier:
I refer to the ministerial statement
dated 16 August 2018 relating to the state government's plan to
introduce a graduate skilled migration list to allow foreign students
completing postgraduate studies to stay and work in Western Australia upon
graduation. I note that local unemployment, underemployment and labour
underutilisation rates, particularly among younger Western Australians, remain
high and there are no acute skills shortages requiring more foreign labour.
(1) Why is the
state government opening another pathway for foreign workers to enter WA and
adding to the supply of labour in a weak market, thereby intensifying job
competition and placing downward pressure on wages?
(2) Why has the
state government abandoned its election commitment to put locals first and
maximise employment opportunities for Western Australians?
(3) Is this
policy change a tacit admission that local universities cannot compete in their
own right and need the added incentive of residency upon graduation to attract
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
note that under this state government, 35 000 new jobs have been created and
the Western Australian skilled migration list has been reduced from 178 occupations
in 2016 to 18 positions in 2017, which remains unchanged.
state-nominated migration program is an existing migration program, not an additional
one. The SNMP is a capped program—the caps are set by the commonwealth
government—and the nomination of high-achieving university graduates
will be managed within that existing cap.
(2) The member is
incorrect. As I just noted, the reduced skilled migration list for WA remains
(3) Other states
have adjusted their state migration policy settings to attract the best and
brightest international students to study at universities by providing a pathway
for eligible high-performing university graduates, and the market for
international students is highly competitive. I note that the government's
announcement has been publicly welcomed by organisations such as the Chamber of
Commerce and Industry of Western Australia and StudyPerth, as well as Curtin University.