Smoothing migration hurdles for manufacturers

June 12, 2024

Finding employees with the right technical skills is becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers in Geelong and the region. While bringing in skilled workers from overseas can help fill gaps, the process for obtaining work visas for foreign employees is complex, costly, and time-consuming, which limits the ability of businesses to quickly address skills shortages.

GMC member Webster Water Solutions is working its way through this complexity, but it’s been a daunting task for the small business. Director, Katrina Harris, says the process continues to be challenging and she recently sought GMC’s support for retaining a highly valued migrant employee. The company had been struggling to fill the technician’s position for six years.

“GMC’s ability to be in the know and guide us in the right direction at the right time has been priceless.”

Webster Water Solutions’ challenge featured this week in the Geelong Advertiser, and on Sunrise on Channel 7.   “The issue of talent and specialised skill shortages is huge for so many companies,” Ms Harris said.

The Federal Government announced a new migration strategy late in 2023, providing hope for employers desperately trying to source key staff in an increasingly tight labour market. However,  the costs of accessing skilled workers in short supply in Australia continues to skyrocket.  GMC is advocating to Government to solve these rising costs and streamline processes, while also working to address the issue through education, training and awareness raising programs.  Labour and talent shortages are having profound impacts on the sector: reducing productivity, increasing costs and reducing Australian manufacturing’s ability to compete both locally and globally.

Webster's Article
Webster Water Solutions skilled worker, Nico Willers with his family in Geelong