Will U.S. construction workers flee to Australia?

It wasn’t too many months ago when U.S. construction-related employers were crying the blues over finding skilled trades workers.  But economic times in many parts of the country have changed, leaving valued and valuable workers without jobs. 

These out of work construction workers may need to look no further than Australia to get a job.

The Australian Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called for a special visa scheme to recruit 15,000 overseas construction workers to combat the local (Australian) skills crisis. Thousands of skilled building workers could be lured from the faltering US housing industry to help ease the crisis here, a spokesperson for the organization says.

HIA policy chief executive Chris Lamont said the skills shortages were worse than ever. "Anyone trying to get a tradesperson to do some running repairs will know that."

There was a 20,000-strong shortfall between the number of apprentices entering the building trade and the number of workers approaching retirement, he said.

"We also looked around across the globe and saw what countries were experiencing a downturn in residential activity and skilled migration provides the opportunity to ameliorate those shortages," he said.

The world is truly getting flatter and the Perfect Labor Storm is far-reaching.


Ira S Wolfe


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