City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder chief executive John Walker believes a Federal Government skilled migrant program can quickly fill job vacancies currently acting as a major constraint on the Goldfields economy.

Mr Walker yesterday said the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder would accept applications for the Designated Area Migration Agreement next week.

A five-year agreement was signed between the City and the Morrison Government in March, with the website allowing businesses to opt into the scheme now live.

 The program will allow 500 migrants based in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Menzies, Leonora and Coolgardie to be sponsored each year to work in industries including mining, engineering, hospitality, childcare, construction and health.

Across these industries, eligible businesses will have access to 72 occupations, many of which are not available through the standard stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) or the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visas.

Mr Walker said he was confident the 500 positions would be filled quickly and hoped the Federal Government would support its application for more positions to become available if the agreement proved a success.

“The demand is there, and we estimate about 1500-2000 job vacancies,” he said.

“I don’t think there is any doubt it will fill … if we fill it earlier I think we could get more.

“We are confident because the Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Regional Development Australia Goldfields-Esperance have been talking to their employers, so we know they will want to have a go.”

Mr Walker said the agreement would also eliminate high recruitment costs and stimulate the local economy by supporting migrants willing to settle in Kalgoorlie-Boulder instead of using fly-in, fly-out workers to fill labour shortages.

“FIFO is killing the town,” he said.

“FIFO encourages people to come and do what they do and go away without contributing a dollar, they don’t contribute to the social fabric, they don’t participate in the arts and culture and they don’t participate in sport.

“Migrants want to work, they are keen to make a new life and that’s why they come here … I think we are a richer community as a result.”

Despite there being no limits on how many positions employers can nominate for, Mr Walker said applications would be monitored to ensure no one industry dominated the program.

“What we have to be wary of perhaps is the bigger companies applying for 100 or more jobs at a time and taking a year to fill them, so we will monitor that,” he said.