Amidst the global financial crisis, South Australia is bent on recruiting Filipino skilled workers to address its perennial problem on skills shortage and subsequently ease the pressure on employers in this Australian state struggling with the lack of essential skills, the Department of Labor and Employment said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said preparations are underway for the Philippines and SA cooperation on the recruitment of overseas Filipino workers who would be deployed to the Australian state.
Roque said the undertaking would be similar to the agreement entered into between the DOLE and the Canadian province of Manitoba. Thus, he said the recruitment of OFWs to SA would also be orderly, ethical, and in line with laws and policies of the Philippines and that of Australia providing for the protection and the development and skills upgrading of OFWs.
A DOLE technical team and its counterpart from SAʼs Department of Immigration and Citizenship have been in consultations for the forging of a memorandum of understanding that would provide for the recruitment of skilled OFWs to SA.
The Labor Chief said the DOLE team met their counterpart in SA to formulate the MOU and fine tune its provisions along with the requirements of both countries. The team also checked on SAʼs labor market.
Citing a report from the DOLE team, Roque said that Deputy Premier Kevin Folley of SA plans to come to Manila for the MOU signing with the DOLE sometime early next year. He said the Australian team would likely bring with them employers and officials from relevant agencies in Australia.
Roque hailed the positive development saying that the opening of the SA labor market for more OFWs would provide a window of opportunities to OFWs who may lose their jobs in countries adversely affected by the financial crisis.
He said the MOU would facilitate the flow of OFWs and their families to SA.
SA is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories. With nearly 1.6 million people, the state comprises less than 10% of the Australian population. Its economy relies on agriculture, mining, and manufacturing mostly of automotive and component parts, pharmaceuticals, defense technology, and electronic systems.
Despite the financial crisis, SA has sustained its economic and employment growth. Resource and defense industries in the state are undergoing expansion. Major projects totaling $45 billion include the building of the Royal Australian Air Warfare Destroyers. Manpower requirements of these projects are estimated to reach 133,000 until 2018. Another 206,000 workers would be required to replace those who would leave the workforce.
The data, Roque said, showed that the labor market of Australia is an attractive market for skilled workers from the Middle East where OFWs constitue the biggest manpower pool of skilled workers.
He said that employers in this country would welcome more OFWs whom they have recognized as hardworking, productive, adaptable, dependable, family oriented, God-Fearing, cheerful, and very respectful.