If you’re not doing anything on May 19-20 in Houston and you’re ready for a new adventure, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship wants to talk to you. The shortage of experienced oil field workers in Australia is reaching epidemic proportions, and about a dozen Australian companies are reaching out to Texas workers to encourage them to emigrate down under. During that two-day period, a job fair -- called Skills Australia Needs -- will be held to entice American oil and gas, mining and construction workers to sign up for a job down under. “Australia is hungry for skilled Texas energy workers right now,” said immigration department spokesman Sandi Logan. “The Houston event will focus on Australian companies which are seeking American engineers and other skilled workers in the oil and gas, mining and construction sectors whose skills are in high demand down under.” The shortage of qualified workers in Australia is driving up the cost of development on a lot of major projects in the country. Russell Chapman, Recruitment Manager (Australia and New Zealand), said, “At the job fair in Houston, we will be looking to fill more than 100 positions for engineers, engineering draftspersons and technicians, quantity surveyors and spatial scientists. We are specifically looking for specialist skill sets in mining, oil and gas to assist us to deliver major projects in these sectors. These skill sets are in short supply and high demand across Australia.” Australian immigration officials are hosting the event and will provide information about visa options for skilled workers in the oil and gas, mining and construction sectors. Available spaces for the two-day event are filling up quickly, and interested participants have been urged to act quickly to register for the free jobs fair. Just how serious is Australia’s need? At Hart Energy’s DUG Conference in Ft. Worth, TX, on April 24, Chris Longwell, senior drilling engineer, Santos International, emphasized, “Now, the biggest challenge is people. Almost all the unconventional experience in the world is with people who live in the U.S. or Canada. To remedy this, we need to actively recruit good people with relevant experience in North America to help us along the learning curve.” Santos is focused on filling its needs. “It just so happens we have a recruitment booth here,” Longwell laughed. At the Houston job fair, Australian employers will be on hand to speak about their industries with U.S. workers. “Skills Australia Needs fairs have met with success across the globe, giving Australian employers the opportunity to link with the skilled workers they need to meet their demands, and helping workers navigate the immigration process,” Logan added. Queensland Government Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas Chris Rodwell said his state would welcome qualified U.S. workers to Australia. “With major growth in the resources and energy sectors in Queensland, many opportunities are now available for suitably skilled U.S. workers,” he continued. “Queensland would warmly welcome American workers to fill these gaps and can offer a wonderful climate and lifestyle for them and their families.” The Australian division of the multinational company URS will also join Australian employers attending the event. Registration details on the Skills Australia Needs event in Houston are available on the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website. So, if you’re looking for a change of pace, half a world away, this job fair may be perfect for you. Just don’t tell your boss what you’re doing until after they offer a job. Contact the author, Scott Weeden, at sweeden@hartenergy.com.