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State’s construction visa program a positive long-term investment, says HIA


The Housing Industry Association (HIA) WA has defended the State Government’s Construction Visa Subsidy Program, arguing that critical reports of the initiative fail to recognise the time needed for such programs to deliver results.

HIA WA Executive Director Michael McGowan said the program, launched in July 2023 to support WA employers in attracting migrants with construction skills, is a long-term investment to build more homes in the state.

“Skilled migration has not been something that WA building companies have traditionally engaged in, but for those that have, the feedback has been extremely positive,” Mr McGowan said.

He acknowledged that money is only one part of the migration solution, with employers needing to find suitable candidates and navigate the complex Federal Migration system before workers can travel and start work in Australia.

“What we have seen is WA employers dipping their toes in the water to see how it works. It has worked, and we now expect most of the 1100 spots to be taken up and workers arriving in Australia over the next 12 months,” Mr McGowan said.

He emphasised the industry’s long history of relying on migrants seeking a new life in Australia and praised the program for continuing this tradition.

Mr McGowan also highlighted the State Government’s responsible long-term approach in investing in a steady flow of skilled migrants while funding 450 apprentices in the residential building industry, given the ongoing housing challenges.


“Of course we would like these people here sooner, but for those navigating it for the first time there are some unknowns that need to be worked through,” he said.

Mr McGowan called on the Federal Government to speed up their processes and increase transparency for builders and contractors who have people around the world waiting to come to WA.

He noted the growing interest in the program, with more than 60 employers attending a recent HIA construction visa information session and success stories continuing to filter through the industry.

“HIA held a construction visa information session at the beginning of May that was attended by more than 60 employers, and as success stories continue to filter through the industry the interest levels continue to increase,” Mr McGowan concluded.

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