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Migration Help 13th April 2010 12:31 PM

Good news for IT experts!

Recruiters press for visa flexibility as skills shortage looms

THE IT sector's slide into a skills shortage should be eased by overseas recruits despite concerns about Australia's population growth and its immigration intake, recruiters say.

Restrictions on the number of skilled technology workers coming from overseas should be reviewed as a skills shortage threatened to delay major projects such as the national broadband network, they said.

Only a few local IT recruiters have an on-hire labour agreement following changes to the immigration regulations in October 2007, which has limited the number of on-hire employers sponsoring temporary 457 business visas.

The country's biggest IT&T recruiter, Peoplebank, has increased its intake of overseas IT professionals by about 20-30 per cent in the past six months as the market recovers.

When Peoplebank announced last year it had signed an on-hire labour agreement with the federal government, it estimated it would import 150 to 200 overseas workers annually.

"We will ask for an increase, but I can't give an exact figure because it depends on what we are able to negotiate with the Immigration Department," Peoplebank acting chief executive Jeff Knowles said.

In Sydney there had been an increase of about 30 per cent in demand in January-February over the same time last year.

Peoplebank has predicted a skills shortage by the middle of this year in NSW, Victoria and Canberra.

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