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Boosting WA's building and construction industry through skilled migration

The State Government will deliver a $47.6 million boost to Western Australia’s building and construction workforce in the 2023—24 State Budget.

This includes a range of new initiatives to ramp up local training and attraction of skilled workers from overseas.

The additional funding is targeted to further grow the State’s residential construction workforce and accelerate delivery of the current pipeline of homes, as well as expand industry capacity to deliver new housing supply to keep pace with population growth in WA.

The new initiatives include the following.

WA Migration Services
  • Temporary changes to the State Nominated Migration Program (SNMP) sponsored visa scheme to make it easier for skilled migrants to connect with job vacancies in WA. 
    Read more about the SNMP changes
  • A new Construction Visa Subsidy Program (CVSP) of $11 million for targeted visa subsidies of up to $10,000 to attract up to 1,100 skilled migrants to the building and construction sector, plus an additional $2.4 million to promote skilled migration to WA and visa advisory services. 
    Read more about the new CVSP

  • A $4.25 million Skilled Migration Job Connect Program (Job Connect) has been established to remove barriers and connect migrants to employment in WA. 
    Read more about Job Connect


  • Enhancements to the Skilled Migrant Employment Register (SMER), connecting skilled migrants with WA jobs. 
    Read more about the SMER

Other new measures in the 2023—24 State Budget also announced today include:

  • $2.4 million to promote skilled migration to WA and visa advisory services;
  • an expansion of the existing Group Training Organisation Wage Subsidy Program to include apprentices and trainees in the residential and commercial construction industry, opening the program up to assist more small to medium businesses;
  • $26.9 million to increase the Base Employer Grant for all third and fourth-year apprentices by 20 per cent, from $10,000 to $12,000, to encourage local businesses to take on local workers;
  • $4.6 million for a one-off $2,000 completion payment to encourage more apprentices to finish their training in the building industry and for school students to learn about the diverse career options in construction; and
  • a $2.7 million boost in resources to expedite approvals of occupational licensing.

These latest measures build on an extensive range of initiatives previously rolled out to support a locally skilled WA workforce.

Changes to SNMP criteria for 2023—24

The State Government is already supporting priority industries to access skilled workers from interstate and overseas through the State Nominated Migration Program (SNMP) and the addition of 34 in-demand construction occupations to WA’s Skilled Migration Occupation List. To boost skilled migration opportunities for WA's building and construction industry, temporary amendments will be made to the SNMP criteria for 2023—24, including:

  • waiving the requirement to provide a six-month contract of employment for visa subclass 190 applicants for building and construction trade occupations; and
  • prioritising invitations for industries with critical demand for skilled workers; including building and construction, health and medical, teaching, tourism and hospitality occupations.

The State Government is continuing its strong representation to the Commonwealth Government to secure additional places for the SNMP, requesting an increase to 10,000 places for the 2023—24 program year to support local industry to fill job vacancies and alleviate skills shortages.

Construction Visa Subsidy Program

The new Construction Visa Subsidy Program (CVSP) will offer $11 million for targeted visa subsidies to attract skilled workers to WA's in-demand construction industry, to accelerate construction of homes and build capacity to keep up with population growth.

CVSP will provide around 1,100 visa subsidies of up to $10,000 each to attract skilled migrants to the residential and commercial construction sector in 2023—24, to offset the costs of supporting overseas workers to start their employment in WA’s building and construction industry.

Skilled Migration Job Connect

A $4.25 million Skilled Migration Job Connect (Job Connect) Program has been established to remove barriers and connect migrants to employment in WA.

The new program includes financial support of up to $7,500 for skilled migrants to undertake skills assessments, gap training and meet occupational licensing requirements; assisting newly arrived skilled migrants to gain employment in occupations commensurate with their formal overseas qualifications, skills, and experience.

Skilled Migrant Employment Register

The Skilled Migrant Employment Register (SMER) is helping to connect skilled migrants with WA jobs, and will be further improved to make it easier for employers looking for workers to seamlessly connect with skilled migrants.

With more than 4,600 migrants and more than 140 employers already registered; the SMER will be promoted through a digital advertising campaign, roadshow, and relevant government events. 

The State Government is also establishing a Skilled Worker Attraction Government Steering Committee — to be chaired by Deputy Premier Roger Cook and Training Minister Simone McGurk — that will consult with industry and other key government stakeholders on matters relating to skilled worker attraction and addressing high-priority needs of the WA labour market, including the construction industry. This committee will also provide oversight of implementation of the Government’s visa support programs.

These initiatives complement the Government’s $195 million Reconnect WA program — which includes initiatives to attract overseas skilled workers, backpackers and international students to the State and several international advertising campaigns running to attract workers in key industries including building and construction.

WA Migration Services

Announcing these new initiatives today, Training Minister Simone McGurk said "“The new migration initiatives funded in our 2023—24 budget will ensure WA remains the state of choice for skilled migrants, helping employers fill vacant jobs in the building and construction sector. But we are not losing sight of the importance of training local workers — the expansion of the Group Training Organisation Wage Subsidy Program to the residential construction sector will help to attract more construction apprentices and trainees to this in-demand industry. As a Government we’re doing everything we can to not only encourage more workers to get into training, but to ensure that they finish their training — and take up rewarding positions in building and construction and other in-demand industries.”

Read the full media statement from Minister McGurk and WA Housing Minister John Carey here(opens in a new tab)