Immigration must never be included in trade agreements

By Leith van Onselen

India has threatened to scuttle a potential ‘free trade agreement’ (FTA) with Australia if the Turnbull Government proceeds with its plan to reform ‘skilled’ temporary visas. From The ABC:

Indians make up a quarter of 457 visa holders, the most of any nation.

India had been seeking an expansion of approved skill categories — essentially to allow more Indian professionals to work in Australia.

In response to the Government’s changes, India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a terse statement, saying that it was “examining the consequences” of the new policy, adding that it would look at the matter “in the context” of trade negotiations.

…one Indian migration agent is warning the changes will harm Australia’s longer-term ability to attract both skilled workers and students with an eye to their futures.

Anisha Gupta is a migration agent, and yesterday her phone ran hot.

“I’m receiving a lot of calls from the applicants, as well as the people who have already applied for the visa — how will that affect them?” she said.

Seriously, who cares what India thinks? Indians have been behind much of the visa rorting under the 457 system, not to mention the rorting of student visas.

Before you accuse me of being ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobic’, go back and watch the below 7.30 Report segment from June 2016, which featured Melbourne Indian community leader, Jasvinder Sidhu, explaining his first-hand accounts of blatant visa rorting and corruption by his fellow countrymen in both skilled and student visas:


NICK MCKENZIE: The visa scam came as little surprise to Jasvinder Sidhu. He knows of many Indians who’ve paid large cash sums to corruptly obtained skilled or student visas in an effort to get permanent residency.

JASVINDER SIDHU: I’ve been hearing it eight, nine years and the last time I heard was last week when somebody paid $45,000 cash.

NICK MCKENZIE: Now Sidhu is determined to expose what he’s learned about Australia’s immigration underworld.

JASVINDER SIDHU: These people will then create your fake timesheets, fake pay slips and they will pay in your bank account and obviously everything else will also be fake, which is superannuation and other related documents.

NICK MCKENZIE: So you’re paying for a fake, a phantom job and in return you get your skilled visa?

JASVINDER SIDHU: Yes. So you are paying extra to get or create a job which doesn’t exist and to create a service which was never delivered and you’re getting permanent residency, which is not fake. This is a real output.

Alternatively, you can read the Australian Population Research Institute’s (APRI) recent report entitled “Immigration overflow: why it matters”, which examined the widespread rorting of Australia’s visa system, especially by Indian IT firms:

One of the findings from this report was “the high and increasing numbers of IT professionals being granted 457 visas”, which “constitute by far the largest occupation group within the 457 program”:

ScreenHunter_16433 Dec. 02 07.28

The APRI showed that Indian IT service companies have been successful in winning a major chunk of Australia’s IT consulting work on the basis of these 457 visa holders, partly because they are paying them much lower salaries than the market rate for IT professionals in Australia:

As Table 2 shows, some 76 per cent of the 7,542 457 visas issued in the three IT occupations listed were to Indian nationals. The great majority of these were sponsored by Indian IT service companies as intra-company transferees…

ScreenHunter_16434 Dec. 02 07.34

Once in Australia their staff are being paid at much lower rates than experienced resident IT professionals and in some cases even new local graduates.

Even more disturbing is the relatively high proportion of these Indian IT professionals (28 per cent) whose 457 visas were approved at the extremely low base salary of $53,900 or less. This is despite the fact that only eight per cent of the 457 visas granted to Indians in the two ICT occupations in 2014-15 were aged less than 25.

The median starting salary for local ICT graduates under the age of 25 is around $54,000. Coincidentally, the 457 minimum salary ‘floor’ is set at $53,900…

The report also showed how the biggest sources of skilled permanent migrants – engineers, accountants and IT professionals – are also the areas with the biggest surplus of workers:

ScreenHunter_16436 Dec. 02 07.49

The fact of the matter is that immigration should never be included in FTAs to begin with. Immigration is covered in Australia’s ‘Migration Programme’, and there is little sense in negotiating away control of our sovereign borders to another nation – and in the process diluting Australian wages and working conditions – for slightly improved market access.

FTAs should be for trade and nothing else.

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Comments

  1. Surprising Indian government would make a statement like that. Just like you said Seriously who cares what India thinks, India really shouldn’t care about Australia’s skilled visa program. The IT sector here hardly contributes much to India’s exports and the remittances back home from here as well are very minor. The focus of FTA should be about getting the uranium, other resource supplies and getting a vote in international diplomatic forums rather than threatening Australia about skilled visa intake.

    • Remittances are 4% of Indian GDP, and about 2.5% (1.8 billion USD) of that total is from Australia. So Australian immigration policy could vaporize up to 0.1% of Indian GDP with the flip of a switch. Not exactly minor.

      • Its not only remittances, its their IT sector profits that are at stake. They would lose their competitive advantage over local contracting companies if they had to pay local market wages.

      • And 0.1% of GDP is not minor ? That’s GDP you are talking about not GDP growth. 1.8 billion USD out of 2100 billion USD

        Seriously ? Enough to cause rifts in FTA ? I don’t think so.

  2. Sell short the big Indian IT outsourcing firms. UK already clamped down on “skilled” migration, Trump doing the same. Aust following suit. NZ considering it.

    India also flagging to UK no progress on Free Trade Deal without increased migration. UK has refused.

    “changes will harm Australia’s longer-term ability to attract both skilled workers and students”

    Usual complaint from vested interests – if Aust/NZ/US/UK clamping down and self harming their ability to attract skilled workers & students where will they go ? Maybe Europe. Unlikely given Indians will need to learn another lanaguage. Maybe Canada. Shame Canadian demand for skilled professionals nowhere near combined demand from UK/US/AU/NZ.

  3. A few things to note here.

    1. I wouldnt for a second ever suggest Australian diplomacy was anything but fairly crude when it gets going. But
    2. Relations with India seem sadly typified by relations between our cricket teams (and involve a surprising amount of suspicion and name calling) on both sides – despite plenty of Indians living in Australia and being model immigrants. And
    3. Hopefully someone will tell the Indian government that if they want to tie immigration into an FTA then they should go and get stuffed. But
    4. Australia already has immigration tied into a number of its FTAs including those with China and Korea – Note
    FactCheck: could the China-Australia FTA lock out Australian workers? – The Conversation https://theconversation.com/factcheck-could-the-china-australia-fta-lock-out-australian-workers-43470
    Under free trade agreement, Chinese workers can avoid labour-market tests – Fairfax http://www.smh.com.au/comment/under-free-trade-agreement-chinese-workers-can-avoid-labourmarket-tests-20150901-gjc8ca.html,
    HOW DOES THE CHINA AUSTRALIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT REALLY IMPACT AUSTRALIA’S LABOUR MARKET? – Wolters Kluwer http://www.wolterskluwercentral.com.au/employment/how-does-the-china-australia-free-trade-agreement-really-impact-australias-labour-market/ including

    Under preferential trade agreements with Thailand, New Zealand, Chile, Korea and Japan,[2] Australia already

    permits 457 visa nominations for contractual service suppliers from these countries without labour market testing, for varying periods of temporary stay, and does not impose any quotas on visas granted under these agreements. Exemptions from labour market testing also apply where the visa nominations are for current employees of associated entities of visa sponsors in these countries and other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    Australia the loser in China Free Trade Agreement: analysis – Smart Company
    http://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/economy/australia-the-loser-in-china-free-trade-agreement-analysis/
    China FTA and binding trade treaties are undemocratic. – Pearls and Irritations http://johnmenadue.com/?p=4491

    If the treaty-status China FTA is ratified by the Australian Parliament with ALP support in the Senate and enters into force unchanged, the consequences will effectively be irreversible. The binding treaty obligation will permanently remove the ability of all future Australian governments and Parliaments (among other things) to apply ‘labour market testing or any economic needs test or other procedures of similar effect’ to all Chinese nationals in the standard 457 visa program and ‘installers and servicers’ in the shorter-term 400 visa program.

    This suits the Coalition government perfectly. The Coalition is publicly committed to the abolition of labour market testing in the standard 457 visa program. But it does not have the numbers in the Senate to pass the necessary amendments to domestic legislation – the Migration Act – to achieve this.

    So it is instead pursuing its aim via binding international treaties, first through the Korean and Japan FTAs which removed 457 labour market testing for nationals of those countries and now the China FTA.

    It is undoubtedly doing the same in its FTA negotiations with India and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries. Around 35 per cent of all 457 visas will be exempt from labour market testing by trade obligations, if the abolition of market testing is secured in the China and India FTAs.

    Chapter 10 – Movement of Natural Persons
    http://prod-filesbucket-7hmmorphht20.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/skmbt_c55415082517462.pdf

    Leading ultimately to
    5. Every last provision of every last FTA that Australia has signed should be examined for its implications for Australian jobs and either rectified or walked away from – Far too often Australian FTA’s (of the last 15 years in particular) have been about trading away the conditions and salaries of working Australians

    But it surely isnt just India…..(no matter how pathetic the comments coming out of their Ministry of External Affairs are)

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      On this 457 inclusion in FTAs,

      “Under preferential trade agreements with Thailand, New Zealand, Chile, Korea and Japan,[2] Australia already

      permits 457 visa nominations for contractual service suppliers from these countries without labour market testing,”

      And

      “the consequences will effectively be irreversible. The binding treaty obligation will permanently remove the ability of all future Australian governments and Parliaments (among other things) to apply ‘labour market testing or any economic needs test or other procedures of similar effect’ to all Chinese nationals in the standard 457 visa program and ‘installers and servicers’ in the shorter-term 400 visa program”

      Will not the simple removal (or rebrand) of this visa class put an effective stop to these travesties being leveled apon local workers?
      No 457 or 400 class of visa, then no access through these agreements.
      Or do we no longer have the Right to legislate and regulate.

      I seem to remember many instances of the Chinese breaking the spirit of trading agreements by locking up perishable produce imports on trumped up bio security concerns etc etc

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Mmm Sure,…but how high a percentage of these Female migrants can we demand be ” Good sorts” before it makes us look like a Sexist Nation?

      Best not give the Horny voters to much say in the matter me thinks.

      ?

    • @HiiiiJ
      Don’t worry, they mostly source their brides from India. Do you often see Indians marry locals?

      • lol Indian males are pretty low on the list in the sexual marketplace – no equality to be found there – one place where there actually is white male ‘privilege’. Don’t hate on me, I don’t make the rules, just observe!

        Which is also why all these fighting age males that makeup the bulk of the economic migrants into Europe is a major problem for the future. Human nature is a social construct!

      • Jumping jack flash

        +1

        Pretty much every Indian I worked with in Sydney (IT sector, so there were a LOT) had arranged marriages.
        Some of them were very, very lucky. 🙂

    • There’s already been massive fraud committed by Indians in the onshore skilled migration program. Monies paid to ‘bodgy colleges” who don’t care if you study, corrupt employers selling fake work references is recouped by payment for marriage scams where Indian females are sponsored to Australia as spouses.

    • Indians 71% male
      Indian mummy boy sent as a cleaner, shelf stacker, taxi driver, 711 shop assistant etc : to work illegally and pay back the loan debt to the Indian agent procurer, secure the PR to drag the mother, her sisters and then the arranged partner & the extended families in as our welfare & health care burden.

      Asians 75% female
      Here either as vice worker (is legal) or a proxy for money laundering & property purchase. Often with a fake male partner who will work full time or illegally also.
      To also repay the agent procurer loan debt, remittances and to snag a PR and drag in the extended family welfare & health care burden.

      The gender imbalance of mostly Indian Pakistani Bangladesh etc Male
      And mostly Asian females – reflects our tastes of what we find them useful for.. and what they are actually in Australia for.

      • Stephen Morris

        Optimal “movement zones” like optimal “currency zones” require members with similar economic conditions.

      • Though the E-3 visa is very good for Australians. About the only thing useful out of AUSFTA.

    • Bullshit seconded.

      I read this site, have a memory which is usually functional, definitely remember objections to preferential labour treatment in the Chinese FTA, am a little bored at work and will go through the site to post relevant links if you want to call bullshit on my seconding the call of bullshit on your bullshit, RT

      • Go and have a look at our previous discussions… I claimed then, and stand by it now, that you were grossly mislead on the TransPacfic agreement, and did not nearly enough analysis on the China FTA. One mattered, the other didn’t.

  4. Then why is it ok to assume that anyone who is against gay marriage is a homophobe?

    I do not hate Indians who comply with the law – but obviously we cannot let 2 billion people into AUS.

    • It’s homophobic for the same reason if you objected to Indians marrying Aussies would be considered racist.

      • Tom Elliott is in favour of gay marriage but he is against companies allowing/encouraging some of their staff to wear pro-gay-marriage badges. What would the atmosphere be like in the staff room or staff kitchen?

        We already have hostility in the staff kitchens and sneering at Aussies by 457 visa staff!

        Ms Le Pen is against gay weddings and would ban them if she becomes president – she would still allow gay civil unions. Just like how AUS allows gay civil unions.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      I do not hate Indians who comply with the law – but obviously we cannot let 2 billion people into AUS.

      Letting two billion people into Australia will have some fairly obvious negative consequences economically, environmentally and socially.

      What are the similarly fairly obvious negative consequences of marriage equality that would make your analogy valid ?

      • Some people find gay marriage very confronting. Especially older folk who were adults when being gay was illegal.

        You know in 2003 when statues of Saddam were toppled? Some/most old Iraqis could not bring themselves to hit the statue with footwear.

        Do not some in EU find the burka to be confronting?

        Also, a female calling a radio station:

        “I am married and this tax is just…”

        Radio host: “ok, so your husband…”

        Female: “how dare you think that I wed a man!”

        So maybe we will no longer be able to assume that if a person is married, they are married to the opposite gender – thus adding another load of confusion to life.

    • About the same as the number of splinters in his backside from sitting on the fence. Dutton’s the same judging by his interview on 7.30 Tuesday night. Could not provide an answer without first celebrating the merits of immigration. They aren’t invested in this, it’s a complete populist facade. They need to grow some balls.

      • Jumping jack flash

        This!

        It is a smokescreen to shut the whingers up.
        I’ll be very surprised if anything major changes.

        If anything major were to change, the screaming from the private sector would be intolerable.
        Since the Great Privatisation of the 90’s, they must keep the private sector happy.

  5. Fairfax has been running stories from IT and other industries which all claim that it will hit them hard. They never cite facts, they use opinions from these business leaders who make the same old claims repeated so often as to be accepted as fact.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      There was even some crap on the telly last night about how it’s going to ruin the character of Lygon St. One restaurant owner virtually called Australians bludging scum.

      So many places to boycott…

      • Suspect the Apex gang haven’t been active in that part of Melbourne yet? Their business mates over in Camberwell, Brighton and Toorak would strongly disagree.

      • Italians don’t really migrate to Australia any more, so, yes, if you want to keep Lygon St as a 1950s Little Italy theme park, you will need something like 457s or at least working holiday visas to keep up the supply of wait staff with Italian accents.
        The horrific alternative is that the strip might need to think about the future in some sense.

    • There are so many Fairfax stories about how it will kill business by changing the system. Then Fairfax has the nerve to publish a story to say that the key to housing affordability is to get a higher paying job. I guess they should change their motto from “Independent Always” to “Higher House Prices Always”.

    • HadronCollision

      This.

      Saw a chyron on ABC news this morning with that affable mjrowland68 fellow – delightful he is – stating AU firms claiming IT jobs will be offshored.

      Allow me to unpack that a tad.

      Option 1: allow a rortable-as (bro) scheme of 457 visas which most sensible people agree is a sham, or
      Option 2: offshore the work

      Sounds like a bit of blackmail to me, eh?

      Time to call some major bluffing with these firms. I don’t know how you can prevent offshoring (or if you want to) except for the fact that as a) a customer of offshore helpdesks my experience varies considerably and b) as a corporate customer/project lead for an IT project in health my faith in offshore helpdesks has not been improved by offshored desk experience to the extent I would preclude vendors with offshore desks from winning bids (or weighting onshore support more highly than not).

      Need to attack problem from all angles

      • Meh, off shoring is already happening through Fiverr and Freelancer – and any call center.

  6. “….FTAs should be for trade and nothing else…..”

    LOL ! Not in this universe kiddo.

    We have already unilaterally reduced our tariffs and quotas on foreign goods and services.

    Therefore we already have everything we need and we have nothing to trade to get our protectionist trading partners to reduce their barriers to our exports of goods and services.

    EXCEPT

    1. Selling the right for foreigners to acquire our land, industries and infrastructure. Unproductive capital inflows.

    2. Selling the right to freedom of entry, freedom to live and to earn an income in Australia.

    3. Imposing additional protections on their exports – extending intellectual property protection.

    Naturally as that is what we are offering to get a trading partner to reduce tariffs and quotas on our goods (a bit and maybe) they DO NOT feel the need to let us buy their land, assets and infrastructure OR to give us the freedom to move in and earn an income there.

    The deals are duds and supported and signed by sellout merchants and fools like Robb, Ciobo, Turnbull, Wong and Fitzgibbon.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Its simply a matter of time before we abolish the idea of borders and sovereignty.

      FTA is just the tip of the iceberg. The baby steps. Of course labour markets will be included, to exclude them would be a “step backwards” from the ideological goal of global unity; a world without borders.

      And then we’ll all sit around in a circle, hold hands, and sing kumbayah.

      Australia leads the way in this leftist ideology.
      However, like most things ideological, the incredibly important finer details haven’t been considered.

      So essentially, we get completely shafted while we think we’re getting an awesome deal, and doing the “progressive”, “right thing”. And at that crucial point before the pen hits the paper, it is sold to us in exactly this way.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        High levels of immigration (to suppress wages) and the destruction of sovereignty (to be replaced by stateless multinational corporations) are policies of the neoliberal right, not “leftists”.

      • A lot of people would disagree with you there smithy, but at the end of the day the neoliberal right and the totalitarian left have policies that converge.

  7. On A roll UE. My son is a software engineer and you have described the business model of his former employer. 457s are imported at minimum wages with conditions that are try ons. They have huge numbers of unfilled positions.

    • Flicked on 3AW last night and Steve Price was talking to this dipshit https://twitter.com/dannybielik (i can’t at all figure out what his interest might be) who was running interference for 457 visas. A caller rang in to describe what you’re saying. Of course that Danny guy was like “oh no, that doesn’t happen because employers have to pay a certain wage, so they can’t undercut workers.”

  8. I stumbled into an Indian forum a couple of years back when they were being targeted in Melbourne. Probably wasn’t representative, but Wow, it was kind of like stormfront for Indians. Whole discussions about how they should turn Australian into South India and flood the place by stealth.

    Have to admit to being a little bit shocked by it.

    • Go back to 1800’s, replace Australia with India and South India with Motherland and you would have stumbled upon conversation between British generals from the East India Company? 🙂

      History sure does repeat in one form or another!

      • Huh ? India – 380 million say 1941 near the end of British rule was rule had less than 100,000 English at its peak.
        Perversely India is by far the cheapest destination for a international student & with accreditation that’s better than most in Australia…

        “India is by far the cheapest place for an international student to attend an internationally accredited university with the annual expenditure coming to just USD 5,642 while Australia has been ranked as the most expensive at USD 42,093, according to a new study conducted in 15 destinations”.

        The Indians coming here are not here to get an education.

        It’s to work illegally and snag a PR and bring in their extended family as our health care & welfare burden.

    • DUH – other cultures/races/groups of people never agreed to this ‘progressive’ Western concept of equality and multicultural utopia. its a fkn illusion.. brainwashing white people have been subjected to for decades now. Everyone is happy to take advantage of our virtuous tolerance – why wouldn’t you take advantage – doesn’t mean they give a rats ass about it.

      If the shit hits the fan in any way, e.g. economically – you can be damn sure all the segregated cultures throughout the West will look to their own first. I won’t blame them one bit, its human nature and completely natural. Whats unnatural is our progressive ignorance and apathy.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        DUH – other cultures/races/groups of people never agreed to this ‘progressive’ Western concept of equality and multicultural utopia.

        Yet, strangely, many people in those cultures are quite eager to move and take up those concepts.

      • Wow really? That is amazing! How many? What % of each given ‘group’?

        >Not all Muslims are extremist jihadis
        >Immigrants come to the West to adopt the host countries values/culture

        Of course there are many well integrated successful immigrants throughout the West – many of them don’t actually want to see immigration shift the demographics significantly. What happens when the demographics shift and you have a critical mass of people that causes ghettoisation of cultures within Western borders that continues to grow over time – what will this lead to?

        Multicutralism is simply tolerated/absorbed/supported up to a point due to the foundations laid in place, what we are seeing today is nothing but a social experiment that has not yet concluded.

      • Ironically, India is a country that does multiculturalism very well – but not as we recognise it.
        They have Hindu’s Sikh’s, Tamils, Jain’s Buddists Christians Zorastians, 3 different types of Muslims and even the odd athiest or two.

        Dont see them getting all het up about multiculturism and some would say India does it a lot better than Australia.

      • I almost puked while reading this one. Progressive and equal utopia ? Seriously, after murdering millions of Aboriginals, American Indians, real Indian Indians and many others throughout the world ? You need history tuitions.

      • Do you want me to apologize for European conquest?

        I understand history perfectly well, precisely why I am against this social experiment.

      • You don’t have to apologize for anything, it’s not as if you did it. It’s just that you have a lot to learn about living in a multicultural society, so don’t go around bombasting that you have created this progressive and equal utopia. In any case, let’s stick to economics of this decision rather than nationalism and cultural aspects of it.

      • I don’t know what you are on about – I reject the concept of a ‘progressive and equal utopia’ – it defies human nature. My argument is that it is a social experiment that has not completed. I say it is weakening the West, destroying social cohesion and putting our peoples future at great risk. Multiculturalism is just fine up to a point.. we are gunning to shoot far past that point throughout the West.

        You bring up the brutal conquest of the past – for what purpose – are you implying we should roll over, weaken ourselves and put ‘our people’ at risk because of some miss-placed empathy? At what point in the past do you draw the line on where I should place my empathy for determining what I should accept today? Why don’t we just piss on the graves of our ancestors that paid in blood to gift us this civilization while we are at it? Most people today are children playing in the backyard of what our ancestors built before us with no concept of what it takes to ensure there is a future.

        Also looking at economics while ignoring human nature is a good way to create problems!

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        […] what we are seeing today is nothing but a social experiment that has not yet concluded.

        So… Just like every other time and place in history, then ?

      • Yes yes.. lets ignore history, lets ignore human nature.. everything is a social construct. If we can just be more tolerant everything will work out great! [PROGRESSIVISM INTENSIFIES]

  9. I wonder what the reaction would be if we tried to interfere with India’s immigration policy. I’ll know turnbullsh*t is serious when he removes engineers, accountants and IT from the list.

    I remember one of my ex employers calling me once saying we need you back to solve some problems. I explained to them I was available, but would work remotely from Australia. Despite having most of their development done in India they couldn’t get approval for me to work remotely. WTF! 50 remote employees in India and they cant get someone from Aus remotely for a 3 week engagement.

    The imbalance in scale between Sydney, Melbourne and the rest of Australia is almost solely responsible for the problems.
    Australia has a lot of unemployed or under employed skilled people, but they are not in Sydney or Melbourne. Any shortages are ones of regional imbalances but instead of somehow spreading the work throughout Australia, developing our youth and harnessing our existing talent, we import a shedload of people into Sydney and Melbourne with no skills assessment. Labour is not as mobile as classical economic theory would have us believe.

  10. Most countries would be loathe to have their most skilled people leave but that’s not what’s happening. My experience with those IT professionals is that after basic training they’re shipped off to places like the U.S. and Australia to do internships for minimal pay. They’re placed en masse in poorly managed businesses and government departments to learn”on the job”. The poorly managed organisations can’t tell the difference between an expert and a trainee. The projects take much longer to deliver vastly sub-standard junk at a multiple of the cost. After the internships the now experienced consultants either become bridgeheads or return home. That way the other state gets large numbers of people trained. Often by exactly those experts they’re supposed to be replacing.
    Where I work we are ahead of the curve by far. Fully onshore, staffed by highly experienced experts running IT infrastructure which would require more than 5x the staffing levels if offshored. Surprised the senior management that the onshore costs severely undercuts any offshore option.

  11. At the end of the day, Australia has to think about its own economy. This ruling is going to affect Australia more than India as

    1) Indians pay more money than any other migrant community as tuition fees here so there would be a direct impact there. Let’s not be under the assumption that Australian universities are the best and we will continue to attract Indian students. Indians surely come here to get education but every Indian does want to stay here longer than that to get their return on investment and also for a better life. Stricter visa conditions and avenues to PR means lesser students.
    2) India does not lose out that much as Australia is a small market for Indian IT companies and the repatratiation from Australia, as pointed out above is 0.1% of GDP
    3) Australia anyways is not a strong magnet for Indian talent. It’s actually way down at no 5 on the list of English speaking countries after USA, UK,Canada and Singapore in that order. Actually 90% of Indian super nerds go to USA, it’s only the average ones (myself included) which end up elsewhere doing the average engineering jobs. Australia is not going to get Indian startup entrepreneurs or the next Sundar Pichai, Vinod Khosla or Satya Nadella.So there is no loss there as Australia does not have an established ecosystem to attract and retain talent like USA does.

    Overall the boom is over so Australia doesn’t need as many skilled migrants, so to make it stricter is better even for existing migrants who are finding it hard to get jobs.

    • “Indians surely come here to get education but every Indian does want to stay here longer than that to get their return on investment and also for a better life. Stricter visa conditions and avenues to PR means lesser students.”

      Good. Education exports should be about education, not a backdoor route to PR. Australia’s immigration intake is already way too high. I also believe that it is too concentrated in favour of China and India. How about some diversity in the intake?

      • True, but is it the right time considering we are trying to rebalance the economy. We will be looking at job losses in the education sector in Australia. And also many Australian vocational institutes are being invited to India to skill the population, you are risking that earning opportunity as well although I do not think India will take any drastic steps. It is not China.

      • Ninad: so we are looking to re-balance the economy by selling educational services (which is fine) or PRs (which is not)? Either be honest that it is the latter, or cut the link entirely and let the education sector sink or swim on its merits.

      • We are not selling education, we are selling PR’s. Just like we are selling houses packaged with PR and citizenships to the Chinese. It might not be ok but then we blew the income from the mining boom. Now what’s your solution, a hard landing ?

        • The solution to a hang over is not to keep on drinking. Continuing with the ‘selling PRs’ route will make Australia even less competitiveness and reduce living standards. Hardly a viable long-term situation, is it?

      • Yes. As painful as a hard landing will be, it only be worse later. The time has come and we will all end up better off for it.

    • I suspect that the question of how to reduce immigration without effecting item 1) on your list is one of the more sizable blocks to meaningful immigration cuts. On the one hand, the international student thing is one of our few remaining industries, on the other a government which cut funding to higher education only a couple of weeks ago would need to find a way to replace the subsidies to Australian higher education that Indian families have been generously providing for more than a decade.
      At the same time note that we are at the peak of Indian 20 year olds (more than 1 million fewer Indians were born in 2014 than in 1997), and the Indian government is opening more universities, so the risk that that income stream will dry up one day anyway is real.

  12. “Indians make up a quarter of 457 visa holders, the most of any nation.”
    Tell India to F off !
    Friend of mine lost her job, along with 14 others, when their IT support firm lost the support contract for a resource company to a low cost bidder who flew in 20x 457 Indians to do the job.

  13. Free trade should be about free movement of goods, capital and labour. Employer based visas such as 457, H1B and E3 don’t fit the definition because labour cannot move independently – capital is controlling the movement of labour. In any case, the trade deals we are signing are all about capital dictating sovereign countries what rules they can enforce. No wonder Trump won as he was seen by people as genuinely opposed to TPP and NAFTA.

    • I argued the opposite up above Mav (I hope you are well by the way) but I get your point – and agree with it.

      There would be a case for including mandatory labour/migration components with every Free Trade agreement – in which case I suspect far fewer would be signed.

      But in general I tend strongly to the view that we live in an age where the 1% has been effectively creaming the margin on the different mobility characteristics of labour and capital. And I do think that if we free up trade (and focus mainly on freeing up capital movement) then freeing up people should be considered with that……….. although there would be a hell of a lot of side issues to be addressed – like healthcare provision, education, pension funding etc and then a load of social issues.

  14. I didn’t realise that India regarded IT workers as a trade export item.

    Taken to the extreme, this implies that the minster for trade in India is involved in human trafficking. UN conventions anyone?

    • Considering how much of their pay gets remitted back to India when they come here and the US to work, it would be insane not to consider them an export commodity. If you don’t believe me, go down to a shopping centre in Melbourne or Sydney and hang around the uaeXchange booth for a few hours. A real eye opener. Bear in mind that the ones you see are only the cash in hand workers who don’t want to run money through a bank account that the ATO or Immigration can look at.

      And why wouldn’t they??? ASIC actually advertises these services:

      Sending money overseas | ASIC Money Smart

      “If you have friends or family overseas, you’re likely to want to send them money at some point: for a wedding, a medical expense or just to help with everyday expenses. Here are some tips to help you pay less fees and avoid problems when you transfer money abroad.”

      Excuse me but: JESUS [email protected]#$%#KING FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      How about some tips about spending your 457 earnings in this country to support local businesses????

      F#ck me my country.

      • True, I forgot about that, remittences would be a major income stream, not just from Oz but also the UK, USA and the Gulf states.

  15. It would be nice if the the Indian FTA never went ahead. All our FTAs are useless from the Oz perspective so why continue this charade?

    As for Australia selling education services to Indians – well we know this is just an immigration rort for overseas interests and the education industry which itself employs so many overseas born people who have been imported into Oz.

    Free trade – does not exist, never has existed and never will (because the Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Japanese etc are not stupid like Oz, which simply gave up its tariff wall for nothing, and now wants to sell most of its citizens into slavery so a few can benefit for a short period of time.