Migrants to fill aged-care jobs
In demand: Migrants needed to fill aged-care jobs. Picture: Supplied

WA's aged-care sector says migrants could help address a shortfall of workers that is forecast to worsen as the population ages.

Industry and lobby groups have backed a push by Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan to have aged-care workers added to the country's skilled occupation list.

Ms Ryan's campaign comes as three-quarters of Australian aged-care residential facilities and half of community outlets have reported skilled staff shortages.

She has written to the Federal Government with her proposal, which she said would have benefits beyond addressing the worker shortage.

"There are two reasons for advocating this - first of all we do have a shortage of aged-care workers," Ms Ryan said.

"But we also have a great need for some of our population who are themselves migrants and now very old and in need of care.

"We know a lot of people who came here as migrants learnt a bit of English but as they get old they can lose some of their English and they want a familiar culture."

Aged and Community Services WA chief executive Trevor Lovelle said adding aged-care workers to the skilled occupation list would be "a positive step" because it gave employers more options to find labour.

Brightwater Care Group chief executive Penny Flett said she believed such a move was "inevitable", given the shortage of workers in aged care was expected to get worse over the next 30 years.

"We already have a workforce of very diverse ethnicity and training for competencies is a key," Ms Flett said.

"This will apply in the same way to migrant care workers. Of course, it would need to be carefully managed, include careful selection (and) training."

Council on the Ageing chief executive Ken Marston said he supported Ms Ryan's move.

This year's skilled occupation list is still being finalised by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

The West Australian

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