January 20, 2006


Seeking People to Work Down Under: Australia, which is facing a shortage of skilled labor, is looking abroad to fill the gap. (Evelyn Iritani, January 20, 2006, LA Times)

From the small town of Toowoomba near Australia's Gold Coast, Dennis Davey is trolling the world for people to work in his 200-person engineering company.

He has snared 15 workers from South Africa and 15 more from China. Some of the South Africans have already been poached away by the town's mining companies, so if the latest batch of Chinese works out, Davey says, he will bring over at least 50 more.

"We have no choice," he said in a telephone interview. "We can't find any more people."

The future of Davey Engineering — and other Australian companies — may hinge on the efforts of Australian immigration officials such as Angus Pryor, who set up shop inside a Residence Inn in Beverly Hills this week asking Southern Californians to consider moving Down Under.

With an economy heading into its 15th year of growth and an aging population, Australia has more jobs than qualified applicants. This year, the government expanded its annual quota of skilled migrants by 20,000 over 2005.

"Australia is a victim of its own success," Pryor told a small crowd who joined him for coffee, tea and visa advice Monday morning.

Victim? Since when is being a land of opportunity bad? The reality is that the developed world will be competing for immigrants as it ages, not shutting them out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2006 11:16 PM

We're lucky we have an almost endless supply of workers from the Rio Grande south to Cape Horn.

Posted by: erp at January 21, 2006 9:06 AM