The Australian government is keen to attract British bakers to the country to fill its skills shortages.

The government has identified bakers, pastry chefs, cooks and chefs as vital to the growth of the Australian economy. These workers are to be given bonus points under Australia’s immigration system, which gives them a better chance of gaining a visa. Applications are also being fast-tracked in order to speed up the process and get workers into the country as soon as possible".

The Australian Visa Bureau, a division of Visa Bureau, an independent UK company specialising in visa and immigration services to Australia, says the country is looking to Britain for "well trained, qualified staff who understand Aussie values and the Aussie way of life".

The government hopes to attract 97,500 skilled immigrants in 2006, approximately 20,000 will be from the UK.

According to its website []: "Australia’s natural beauty, warm climate and growing economy make it an ideal place to establish a business, live, work or visit. If you are looking to live and work in Australia on a permanent basis, you can apply to immigrate to Australia, with an Australian visa, through the Australian General Skilled Migration Program. The program aims to meet current skills shortages in Australia by attracting skilled migrants who can make an immediate contribution to the Australian economy."