THE City of Greater Bendigo council fears the abolition of Victoria’s Skilled Migration Program could cost the region future jobs growth.
The government cut its contribution in the May budget, bringing to an end a program that has serviced Bendigo employers for more than 10 years.
The program helps local companies attract skilled employees from overseas.
Council Economic Development Unit manager Brian Gould said the program had a good impact on the local economy.
“For every skilled migrant we can attract, that company has been able to create at least one additional job for locals,” he said.
“It is one of the reasons Bendigo’s workforce continues to be so strong.
“It (cutting the scheme)could be costing future jobs growth.”
Some of Bendigo’s largest companies benefitted from the program, including Keech Castings and Hazeldenes Chickens.
Organisation such as Bendigo Health and the council itself have also been beneficiaries of the scheme.
“It has been a valuable service we have been able to provide for over a decade,” Mr Gould said.
“Companies would come to us saying they have a vacancy they haven’t been able to fill locally or nationally, but they have someone overseas interested.
“It attracted dozens of people every year to Bendigo
“In this new era of cost savings the decision was made to end the program.”
Mr Gould said the program helped companies with the administration needed to attract skilled migrants.
“We would give them advice and assistance to get them over here,” he said.
“It now means companies are left to their own resources to ensure they get the bureaucracy right.
“It is not easy to go through these processes.
“The State Government is negotiating with the Federal Government to potentially increase the Commonwealth’s support to pick up the slack.”