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International Opportunities for Gunnedah

Gunnedah Shire Council welcomed representatives from the High Commission of Tonga this month who met with local businesses to discuss employment opportunities.

Income from citizens working offshore is a significant contributor to Tonga’s economy, which has a 50% unemployment rate in key cohorts. As Gunnedah currently has a large number of job vacancies, talks between representatives of the two communities have uncovered opportunities that they can realise together.

Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Cr Jamie Chaffey said there is a strong alignment of needs between Gunnedah and Tonga, with the visit marking the beginning of a valuable friendship. “There are significant employment opportunities here in Gunnedah, both in agriculture and far beyond, and Tonga is interested,” Cr Chaffey said. “Our population has not kept pace with Gunnedah’s employment growth. Employers have told us that people are not available locally to fill the demand for skilled and unskilled positions. Council’s Skills and Training Working Group are focussed on securing immediate and long-term solutions to these local workforce shortages. As part of this initiative, we are extending a hand of friendship across the Pacific to offer Tongan workers an opportunity to gain experience with our local industry leading businesses and help support their families and communities.”

Our Skilled Migration Officer, Gary Fry, also joined the two-day tour of Gunnedah businesses to share his knowledge of the various skilled migration schemes that are available for businesses that are experiencing worker shortages. “We support the region’s development by facilitating an important option for employers struggling to attract the skilled workers they need. Through our Skilled Regional State Nomination program, we are bringing skilled migrants to our region. While this is not the complete solution to our labour challenges, it is essential for our region’s growth.” he said. “Skilled migration is not about taking jobs from locals. They are migrants with skills that RDANI has identified as being in demand and in shortage in our region, such as hospitality and metal trades or Registered Nurses. Hundreds of 489 recipients and 491 applicants are in our region, many with skilled partners that represent a quality labour market pool.”

Employers that are currently seeking skilled workers are encouraged to utilise our free Skilled Migrations Jobs Board Northern Inland Facebook Group. With over 1,000 members, this group provides a free way for employers to connect with skilled migrants in our region. Employers can also find out more about employing 491 and 489 visa holders on our website or contact Gary on 02 6771 0700.

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