OVERSEAS workers will have more opportunities to work in the mines in Queensland as the government moves to boost its skilled migration visa availabilities.
Last financial year, Queensland sponsored 212 skilled migration and business migration visas while 22,247 state-sponsored spots were filled across the country.
In an attempt to ease the skill shortage in the resources industry in Queensland, the State Government will work with the Federal Government to offer more visas to overseas workers.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced a comprehensive analysis of the state's criteria for the visas.
"Under Labor, Queensland has fallen behind other Australian states and today has some of the most onerous criteria for state-sponsored visas," he said.
Under current visa requirements, an engineer applying to work in the mines in Queensland has to prove seven years of work in the field.
In Western Australia, the requirement is only 12 months.
While mining companies would welcome the boost to the skilled workforce, it doesn't make up for the hike in royalties outlined in the Budget.
The Queensland Government will increase royalty rates to 12.5% for coal valued between $100 and $150 a tonne and 15% thereafter.
Mining companies have condemned the move saying it will force investment elsewhere and cause job losses.
However, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney defended the move in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
He said it would have been irresponsible of the Government not to consider hiking up royalties.
"Just as hard decisions were made on the expenses side of the budget and regrettable decisions were made, so was it appropriate to make decision on the other side of the equation," he said.
"The revenue opportunities for a state like ours are very limited. But one of the main revenue opportunities for this state is the royalty regime that is applied to the mining industry, principally the coal industry which is the biggest part.
"So it was no surprise that this government looked at this opportunity."
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