|Subject: ABC: Call for East Timorese
workers to fill job vacancies
Tuesday January 15, 02:00 PM
Call for East Timorese workers to fill job vacancies
East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta is appealing to the Federal Government to let thousands of his country's workers fill labour vacancies in Australia.
Businesses are struggling to address labour shortages in many parts of Australia.
Dr Ramos-Horta says he approached the former Howard Government with his idea to fill labour shortages with East Timorese workers, but says he did not get a response.
However he says he hopes the Rudd Government will take a different approach
"So I would plead with Australia to let in a few hundred Timorese, a few thousand, for let's say up to nine months of the year," he said.
Dr Ramos-Horta says allowing Timorese people seasonal work in Australia would be of great benefit to both countries.
Timor could solve Aust labour shortage Jan 15, 2008 10:29 PM
East Timor's president has called on the Rudd government to let workers from the fledgling nation into Australia to work.
President Jose Ramos Horta said he first approached the former Howard government with his idea to help solve labour shortages in Australia with workers from East Timor.
He said he got no response and hoped Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would be open to the idea.
"So I would plead with Australia to let in a few hundred Timorese, a few thousand, for let's say up to nine months of the year," Ramos Horta said.
The most recent figures show only one in seven people in East Timor's 300,000 strong labour force have a regular income.
More than 40% of the population live in poverty.
The International Labour Organisation estimates there will be 215,000 new entrants to East Timor's labour market by 2020, putting immense pressure on the country's young economy.
Jose da Costa Soares, from East Timor's Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment, said private investment in East Timor was stagnant, resulting in a lack of employment opportunities.
"We are trying to look at ways for our people to work outside the country," he said.
"We hear there are opportunities available in fruit picking, so we want to ask Australia if is possible for out people to work in the season of the fruit harvest."
South Korea is the only country that currently supports workers from East Timor through bilateral government agreements.
Soares also said they would like to ask the Australian government to create opportunities for East Timorese to learn skills through Australian TAFE and vocational training courses.
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