Are mining companies recruiting overseas?

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The Australian job market is tough, but are mining companies recruiting close to home or further afield?

It’s fair to say that no other industry suffers from booms and busts the way mining does.

The Western Australian mining industry has been experiencing a downturn but with things starting to look up, are local companies once again starting to look overseas to fill jobs for skill sets that are in short supply here?

Mining People International’s Principal Consultant Tony Turton said for the last few years, mining companies haven’t been looking to import skills from overseas.

“Moving forward, there may well be a recruitment move to look offshore again; however, I think companies will be a lot more selective in the types of people they consider as well of the abilities of the individuals they are assessing to bring to the country.”

According to Tony, although an overseas candidate might well have the right skill set for the job, there are a lot of other factors at play as to whether importing someone into a role is a success.

“During the last boom, many people were imported from overseas and for a variety of reasons, the success of these people within the Australian industry has been relatively low, with cultural and work ethic issues often being cited. ” Tony added.

“The majority of tertiary qualified professionals still out of work are people that emigrated, or were brought in to Australia on the 457 working visa arrangements.”

The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily.

It provides two alternatives: Business sponsorship and self sponsorship.

Many workers who came to Australia for the most recent mining boom on the 457 visas have now left the country.

But whether Australian based companies look to recruit from overseas largely depends on what roles they have to fill.

“Based on past experience in the industry, workers that local companies tend to look for overseas are tertiary qualified,” Tony said.

“They are looking for Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Surveyors – and Geologists as well, but to a lesser extent.”

One thing’s for certain, as the industry starts to upturn again it will be an interesting time for recruiters and miners alike.

For more information on mining jobs, visit or visit the Australian Government’s website for information about working visas.