Migrant costs measured
New analysis has found migrants are not a threat to local jobs.
Research by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) shows temporary skilled migrants have not displaced Australian workers, despite ongoing fears and rhetoric suggesting immigrants threaten the local job market.
CEDA’s report, ‘Effects of temporary migration’, counts about two million people on temporary visas, including students, working holiday-makers, skilled workers and New Zealand citizens.
It finds that 70 per cent of temporary skilled migrants reside in NSW and Victoria, which have the lowest rates of unemployment in Australia.
Temporary skilled migrants account for less than one per cent of Australia's labour force, and tend to work in jobs with an average base salary about $95,000, according to the report.
These workers do not receive a range of free or subsidised government services, but do contribute to tax revenues, “resulting in a net benefit to government budgets”.
“Despite repeated claims and assertions, the evidence suggests that the success of recent waves of migrants in the labour force does not come at the expense of Australian workers,” the report said.
The most common occupations to be granted visas in 2017-18 were developer/programmer, ICT business analyst, university lecturer and cook.
The three mostly common citizenships of visa holders were the United Kingdom, India and the Philippines.
CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento says migrant workers are “critical” to delivering benefits to business.
“Concerns about the impacts of temporary skilled migration have been raised consistently, resulting in frequent changes to the scheme, including most recently the abolition of the 457 visa class (last year),” Ms Cilento said.
She said the unpredictable policies undermine businesses’ ability to plan with certainty.
“We need to make it easier for business to import the best global talent and expertise,” Ms Cilento said.
The report calls on the federal government to find better way to identify skills shortages and eligible occupations for skilled visas.
It suggests the creation of an independent committee to work on skilled occupation lists, like the Migration Advisory Committee in the UK.