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Published on November 28th, 2011 | by john.weir

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Increase migrant intake says former Australian immigration minister

A former South Australian immigration minister is calling on Australia to fix its skill and labour shortages

Nick Bolkus says Australia should increase its take of migrants by 100,000 a year over the next three years – targeting Eurozone countries in crisis.”I think the European situation presents a really good opportunity for Australia to pick up young migrants who can contribute to developing this country – both skilled and those with the energy to apply themselves to the task we have,” the former Keating government minister said.

Mr Bolkus called for state and federal governments to ramp up advertising campaigns in affected countries. He pointed to the forecast demand for labour through BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion.

“Given the sorts of demands for labour we’ve got in this country at the moment, and those demands will grow, we’ll be losing a golden opportunity not to promote the Australian migration program and in fact expand the program,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said his department had this year staged skills expos across Europe. She said the Government’s temporary work visa, the 457, was “uncapped and demand driven”.

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