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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Australia seeks skilled migrants
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Many Europeans could be attracted by Australia's lifestyle
Australia is looking for 20,000 skilled immigrants to fill vacancies in what has been described as its biggest recruitment drive since the 1960s.

Immigration department spokesman Abdul Rizvi said the nation needed engineers, doctors, car mechanics and accountants.

Exhibitions in Europe and India will be set up to promote the scheme, but Mr Rizvi said: "We are looking for skills from anywhere."

Australia often comes under fire for its tough immigration policies.

But analysts say the country is currently suffering from a serious labour shortage, which is threatening its economic growth.

In the 1950s and 60s, Australia mounted a major campaign to attract immigrants from Britain, and about one million people took up the offer.

But this time, the migration will be more targeted to fit specific labour requirements.

The Department of Immigration is organising a series of exhibitions later this year in London, Berlin, Madras (Chennai) and Amsterdam.

"We are initially targeting these [cities]... Next year we hope to go to other places based on what we have learned this time around," Mr Rizvi said.

A hairdresser explains why she is moving down under

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