Hawthorn, Victoria Australia (PressExposure) November 17, 2006 -- SINGLE women are coming to Australia in record numbers to plug the nation's skills shortage.
Go-getters like 30-year-old Jennifer He, from Shanghai, are part of the increasing "feminisation" of Australia's skilled immigration program. Miss He left behind a sprawling city with 20 million people to take a job at Barcoo in western Queensland, population 460.
Figures show the number of skilled women coming to Australia as primary applicants - as opposed to wives and partners - has more than quadrupled from 4000 a decade ago to 17,500.
Back in 1996, women made up less than 28 per cent of primary applicants. That has since grown to 37 per cent, with Chinese women increasingly taking up Australia's call for skilled labour.
China has overtaken Britain as the main source of skilled female migrants.
Last year alone, more than 4200 female primary applicants were from that country, up 52 per cent on 2004-05.
Miss He has been working as executive assistant to the mayor and chief executive of Barcoo Shire Council since September last year. The council had twice advertised unsuccessfully to fill the position.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said yesterday:
"In the past, when couples migrated to Australia, it was generally about the man's occupation or job prospects.
"What has changed is the gender ratio of primary applicants."
A total of 97,500 skilled migrants were accepted into Australia last year, including more than 46,000 women.
"It is a strong indication of the feminisation of immigration," Senator Vanstone said.
Miss He said moving to outback Queensland was a chance to step outside her comfort zone.
"It is a good experience, and not many people have the opportunity in their lives," she said.
"Even if I don't make Barcoo my permanent home, years later I will look back and be really proud of myself."
On her first day home from work, Miss He found a kangaroo on her porch.
"He must have been six feet tall - but luckily he hopped away."
Miss He said she was open to finding Mr Right in Australia.
- The Courier Mail