Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Australia Prepares For Storms

While a lot of Australian business visa holders are moving in to the country, many economic observers are still worried that there are still a lot of things that can affect the country's economy. And with that, they have cautioned the public to be prepared for what can happen.

One of these events that many businesses are awaiting for is the landfall of Cyclone Yasi in the country this week. According to meteorologists, Yasi is expected to be one of the strongest storms to hit Australia within four years. And with the expected amount of rains that it will bring, some are worried that it might have a significant impact.

It should be noted that Yasi is actually not the first storm that Australia will encounter with such strength. However, the recent flooding in Queensland brought by Cyclone Tasha has caused worry for many, as Tasha is considerably weaker than Yasi. One can recall that the floods brought about by Tasha brought in a lot of damage in the state of Queensland, which is yet to recover from it. The cost of rebuilding the state is estimate to be well within AU$ 10 billion. Yasi is expected to hit in the same areas that Tasha did.

In response to this, the Australian government has already prepared a comprehensive contingency plan. Several schools and establishments have already been ordered temporarily closed for the arrival of the typhoon. On the other hand, the coal mines in the regions, which were also severely affected during the previous floods, were also closed prior to the arrival of the cyclone.

However, it is not only Cyclone Yasi that Australia is bracing for. Many business experts are also closely monitoring another storm, this time of the political kind, and its effects to the country. As it is, while the current turmoil in Egypt may seem half a world away for many Australians some experts are worried that it will have an effect in the Australian economy in the long run. It can be recalled that Egypt is currently battling a major public unrest.

One of the likely effects of the political unrest in the country is an increase in the prices of fuel in Australia. As it is, the Suez Canal, located within the Middle Eastern country, is one of the major travel routes for oil bound for Australia. The tightening of travel through the canal will likely cause oil prices to increase as it hits the Aussie market. However, other than that, experts say that the effect of the situation to the land down under is at best minimal. Nevertheless, the Australian government said that it is well prepared to handle the effects of these.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not Time To Celebrate Yet, Economic Experts Say

For a lot of Australian visa applicants, the country's economy is definitely one of the biggest reasons to move here. Indeed, the previous year saw the rapid growth of Australia's economy. And this has a lot of immigrants quite hopeful for 2011.

The start of 2010 was definitely the best one for Australia in the past few years. Coming from the wake of the world financial crisis, the country was slowly able to regain its footing. And by the middle of that year, Australia is well on its way to full recovery, much faster than other countries, such as the United States and Japan. Australia's quick recovery was considered as a good sign that it would be having a great economic year.

Indeed, Australia managed to pull off a big one last year. In fact, the Australian dollar has been showing a great deal of strength in the past few months, closing in at almost par with the US dollar in December. This, in turn, also contributed greatly in the rapid growth of the country's industries. The mining and information technology sectors are just to of the several fields that has experienced a significant boom last year.

The economic boom last year also brought a significant amount of growth in the jobs market. Since the middle part of last year, Australia has opened up a lot of opportunities for many foreign workers. Industries like the mining and engineering fields have actually double the amount of workers that they will be needing for this year. And some business groups are hopeful that this growth will continue well into this year.

However, economic experts cautioned the public from being too optimistic about Australia's current economic growth. They said there are still a lot of things that can affect the Australian economy. One of these that they have pointed out is the recent floods that hit the state of Queensland from December last year to early January. While analysts do agree that the disaster is unlikely to make a significant dent to the Australian economy, they argue that its effects would still be felt in the next few months.

Indeed, Australian stocks dropped a bit in the wake of the floods. Tourism in the country also suffered as many tourists opt to cancel out of their travel plans. This one is felt the most in Queensland, where tourism is considered to be one of the biggest industries. The cost of rebuilding after the disaster is also likely to take its toll on the governments finances.

Thus, economic experts urged the country to be well prepared for this in the next few months.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Groups Urge Australia To Increase Worker Migration

With its economy booming, jobs in Australia has increased significantly. However, while this is indeed a welcome news, many people are still worried that this might not be enough to meet the country's needs. As it is, there are actually many things that need to be addressed with the current worker demand of the country.

One of these issues that need to be sorted out is the government's stance towards increasing migration numbers. It should be noted that current Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said last year that she intends to reduce the country's current immigration rate by a significant amount. This, according to Gillard, is necessary in order to make Australia's population more manageable.

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In fact, it should be noted that even before Gillard, the changes undertaken by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) on the various immigration programs seems to indicate this direction. In the past two years alone, the department has introduced tighter regulations with regards to the skilled migration visa. And, according to DIAC officials, there are still more changes to be implemented for the program in 2011.

However, many employer groups have said that these changes in the country's immigration program actually has a negative effect to Australia's worker needs. According to them, the tighter immigration policies have scared away many potential workers from applying. This, in turn, has contributed greatly to the worker shortage that Australia is currently experiencing.

Employers have also said that they have actually gone to great lengths to attract more workers into the country, including offering higher wages. However, while they said that they are more than willing to give higher pay, this would still be not enough to draw in people. They have also noted that very high pay would also be detrimental to companies, as it would surely burden them a lot.

Thus, companies have urged the government to rethink its current immigration policies. They have urged the immigration department to increase its intake to better meet the needs of employers. They have also pointed out that this can still be manageable, as long as these are used to fill up the most in demand areas.

Many groups have also said that the government needs to work more in improving the 457 visa. As it is, the 457, or temporary worker, visa currently serves as a major source of workers for many companies. Businesses have urged the government to make the 457 more flexible, such as increasing its duration and scope, in order to attract more workers.