UNEMPLOYED skilled workers in economically ravaged countries should be offered low-interest home loans and some relocation costs to attract them to South Australia, the Property Council says.
In its State Budget submission, the council also wants the State Government to increase the conversion rate of international students to permanent residents and target skilled unemployed Europeans in countries in economic crisis.
It also wants the introduction of a new visa to speed up the process of recognising the skills of new arrivals to help them find work sooner.
The state's population grew by just 1 per cent, or about 16, 500 people, in the 12 months to the end of the September last year, compared with 1.7 per cent nationally.
The greatest contributor to population growth was overseas migration, adding 11, 300 people to the state.
Thousands of South Australians are continuing to leave for other states, although the rate of departure is slowing.
In a pre-Budget submission, Property Council of Australia (SA) executive director Nathan Paine said the state faced a "skills deficit" when economic conditions improve if it did not grow its population.
Mr Paine urged the State Government to lobby its federal counterpart for a special expedited visa to attract unemployed skilled workers from "economically-ravaged economies", such as Italy, Spain and Greece and Portugal.
The SA Government should run a campaign in those countries to encourage migration to SA, with incentives including low-interest home loans and lower relocation costs, he said.
In return, migrants would have to stay in SA for at least five years or forfeit the money.
"Getting more tourists in from overseas to see all the great things about our state, combined with some preferential visa treatment will see a lot of people moving back or moving here permanently, " Mr Paine said.
By Lauren Novak
Sourced from Adelaide Now