Mass immigration is diluting Australia’s skills base

By Leith van Onselen

Sustainable Australia president, William Bourke, penned a thought-provoking letter in The AFR arguing that Australia’s permanent skilled migration program is actually diluting Australia’s skills base:

Australia’s record permanent immigration program of around 200,000 that’s diluting our skills base. Although the so-called “skilled” category is two-thirds of the annual program, the government hides the unskilled families of the skilled migrant inside that category.

This means that in truth, only around 50,000 (25 per cent) are bringing in designated skills – that is, if you have faith in the skills list – and worse still, many of those primary skilled migrants are not even working in their area of expertise.

An overwhelming 75 per cent or more of permanent migrants are not bringing designated skills, and so create a massive annual net skills deficit. This dilutes our skills base. The 457 Band-Aid won’t help either, as it includes just as many dependants as primary visa holders.

The only way to secure an economically sustainable Australia with lower skills shortages is to lower immigration back to the long-term average cap of 70,000 per year – and seriously invest in local education and training.

Bourke’s letter got me thinking and promoted me to do some investigation of my own.

First, the below chart shows that so-called “skilled” migrants made up around 129,000 of Australia’s 200,000 strong permanent migrant intake in 2016:

Curiously, the number of skilled permanent migrants, and indeed the overall number of permanent migrants, was higher in 2016 than it was during the height of the mining boom when skills shortages were common.

The Productivity Commission’s (PC) recent Migrant Intake Australia report explicitly stated:

…within the skill stream, about half of the visas granted were for ‘secondary applicants’ — partners (who may or may not be skilled) and dependent children… Therefore, while the skill stream has increased relative to the family stream, family immigrants from the skill and family stream still make up about 70 per cent of the Migration Programme (figure 2.8)…

Primary applicants tend to have a better fiscal outcome than secondary applicants — the current system does not consider the age or skills of secondary applicants as part of the criteria for granting permanent skill visas…

There are strong grounds to give much greater weight to a primary applicant if the associated adult secondary applicant has skills or other desirable characteristics likely to improve their own labour market prospects. At the very least, for the sake of transparency and future policy development, Australian Government publications should report primary and secondary skill stream immigrants separately and provide more detailed information about the skills and other traits of adult secondary applicants.

The PC also showed that while primary skilled migrants have slightly better labour market outcomes than the Australian born population in terms of median incomes, labour force participation, and unemployment rates, secondary skilled visas, and indeed all other forms of migrants, have much worse outcomes:

Thus, it would appear that William Bourke’s claim that Australia’s mass immigration program is diluting Australia’s skills base is true.

Another point that needs to be recognised is that the most popular categories of skilled migrants – accountants, engineers and IT professionals:

ScreenHunter_16433 Dec. 02 07.28

Are also the categories with the biggest surplus of workers:

ScreenHunter_16436 Dec. 02 07.49

Thus, the skilled migration system is destroying career prospects for local graduates in these (and other) areas.

In short, it does appear that Australia’s mass immigration system is diluting Australia’s skills base, in addition to placing greater pressure on infrastructure, housing and the environment.

So why are we persisting with such a program? Why not lower the immigration intake back to the long-run norm of 70,000 people a year?

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Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. SpaceX is banned from hiring non-Americans. Yet they are still based in USA.

    What does that tell you?

    A) Gillard dumbing down Aussie degrees is a very bad idea
    B) The firms do not need the 457 visa, the firms are just bringing in people to work for illegal wages
    C) The firms should be ranting against the quality of Australian degrees and diplomas

    • “What does that tell you?”

      It tells me the US govt wants to protect knowledge that could be used against them in war.

      • I mean the fact that SpaceX is based in USA rather than EU or AUS (where they can have 100% foreign staff).

      • Too late for that. You only have to look at the long list budget driven boondoggles that includes – a $13Billion carrier that can’t sail as its engines, catapults, etc. don’t work, the JSF (lots of literature on that and we in Australia have been lumbered with it), the Zumwalt sea going tower block, etc.

    • These nativists issues are not allowed to go away when Sustainable Australia, IPA, ON and MSM are desperate to have Australian voters focus upon the outsiders whether refugees, immigrants and population growth.

      Meanwhile this deflects Australians from all the financial and tax benefits given to vested interests in Australia whether energy, urban design/RE, automotive, etc..

      Both evidence of dumbing down of Australia where the left have been compromised over last generation by financial inducements and perceived status, along with hollowing out of institutions including parties to become obedient to corporate masters, culturally exclusive and irrelevant to most Australians interests, whether they realise it or not.

  2. The wives of H1B visa workers are banned from working in USA.

    Makes perfect sense to ban the wives of 457 visa staff from working in AUS. We only “wanted” the “skilled” 457 visa worker to come here temporarily and go back. The wife and kids should not come here.

    • You see, if you impose Labour Market Impact Assessment as a pre-requisite to applying for a 457 or a skilled migrant visa, you could solve the problem….. The trouble in this country is; how to ensure that the LMIA process will not be rigged!!!

      It has always been the case that the problem can be solved if there is a will – which has been lacking….

    • Yep. I was on an H1-B in New York. Spouse couldn’t work. Had my first child over there so she is an American but after nearly 7 years we packed it in and returned home so I was just how it is supposed to work out for the host nation. As much as Australia is my home I do sometimes wonder what life would’ve been like had I stayed.

  3. I don’t know about all this anti Immigration rhetoric in my simplistic view more People is the problem and more People is the solution.
    For me this means the real problem is the rate of change of people. I think we need to honestly ask ourselves why Australia is having problems incorporating 200K people per year. Sure it’s a lot of people but averaged over our land area it’s a drop in the bucket, averaged over our population it’s a significant change, but averaged over the 2 cities (that Immigrants end target) it’s disastrous.
    It’s easy to understand why Immigrants flock to Sydney and Melbourne however it’s a little more difficult to understand why traditional Australians are not taking a wider gaze in their search for a better lifestyle. I guess the answer lies in the realization that owing a 1/4 acre of Sydney pays infinitely better than any other job and you don’t even need to raise a sweat, just sit back and collect your $100+K per year. Of course you need to bitch about the Sydney traffic at every BBQ you attend so I guess it’s not completely free money.

    • “It’s easy to understand why Immigrants flock to Sydney and Melbourne however it’s a little more difficult to understand why traditional Australians are not taking a wider gaze in their search for a better lifestyle”.

      So you expect Australians to move from where they grew up, their families and friends, just so we can make way for tens-of-thousands of migrants flooding Sydney and Melbourne each year?

      I would be less against mass immigration if it was spread throughout the nation. But the reality is that it is not. Therefore, the tap needs to be turned right down.

      Besides, where is the benefit of adding 200,000 immigrants every year and having Australia’s population grow to 40 million mid-century? How will this boost living standards or make the nation more productive or competitive? These are the questions that need answering.

      • @UE, it’s not just Australian’s that grew up in Syd/Melb that are staying there it’s Aussies from everywhere else flocking to Syd/Melb. Go to any regional town and talk with any High school graduating class and you’ll hear that 9 out of 10 intend to move to Syd/Melb maybe not immediately but sooner or later that’s where they’ll end up. They understand where the sustainable opportunities are, I suspect it’s actually only economists like yourself who fail to understand just how geographically narrow the base of the Aussie opportunity pyramid has become.

        • “I suspect it’s actually only economists like yourself who fail to understand just how geographically narrow the base of the Aussie opportunity pyramid has become.”

          So why would you want to see immigration maintained at 200k when they are flooding Sydney and Melbourne and reducing opportunities for the incumbent population?

          Again I ask you to answer the questions that I posed earlier: where is the benefit of adding 200,000 immigrants every year and having Australia’s population grow to 40 million mid-century? How will this boost living standards of the incumbent population or make the nation more productive or competitive?

          You seem to be a Big Australia guy and a self-proclaimed “smart fella”, so the answers should be easy for you.

      • “So why would you want to see immigration maintained at 200k when they are flooding Sydney and Melbourne and reducing opportunities for the incumbent population?:”
        As seen through my eyes Immigration creates far more opportunities than it takes, there’s just a time lag involved in the transformation process that begins with immigration.
        One of the wogs that stole my Mums jobs (see post further down) ended up being my neighbor and bought with him a wealth of experience with machining exotic materials (Titanium, special steels etc) he eventually setup his own company and realized that the local mining industry had demands for the skills he had developed machining these exotic Aeronautical parts.
        That’s how a complex economy functions, it’s kind of like magic, it’s impossible to quantify and segregate the positives from the negatives,and what’s even stranger is the way that sometimes the negatives become positives through just the passing of time.

        • “That’s how a complex economy functions, it’s kind of like magic, it’s impossible to quantify and segregate the positives from the negatives,and what’s even stranger is the way that sometimes the negatives become positives through just the passing of time.”

          Ah yes, the ‘grow and hope’ model. Don’t worry, the congestion and dilution of Australia’s mineral wealth is good for you, as is not being able to afford a decent-sized home. Don’t worry, it’ll all be worth it in the end. Just look at India and Bangladesh – growth’s awesome!

      • Smart may not be so smart if he is still wondering why young Australians moving from regional centres to the cities. HIGH immigration actively works against decentralisation and regionalism. Infrastructure bottle necks emerge in the our three main cities, and given the larger populations in those centres this creates the most urgent infrastructure deficits to target, since you want to get the most bang for your limited infrastructure buck.
        Consequently funds and resource get drawn away from regional centres, where they could be being spent on deepening the capital infrastructure of those areas, hence making them more appealing places to live, and instead get diverted to the big cities and deployed against the constantly emerging infrastructure spot fires that have to be put out… and once they’re extinguished the next plane load of immigrants arrives and creates a new infrastructure priority.
        A never ending cycle when immigration is run like a fire hose and the only strategic thinking is to boost aggregate demand, with no thought given to quality of life.

      • It’s bad enough describing students whom did not choose to be in Australia as ‘immigrants’, but to describe 200k or less permanents as ‘mass immigration’ is slightly alarmist?

        Significant numbers would have been in country and already counted in the population when on a temp visa for more than 12 months; who cares about a bit of statistical misrepresentation, MB and it’s preferred experts on immigration and population have form on misinterpreting data or like most are data illiterate?

        Meanwhile Australia is a medium sized country and with much material wealth, but lacking the intangible or spiritual wealth that makes people happy and contented; at least among SA and MB with related conservative commentators in media.

        Of course the elephant in the room is about to start, as it has elsewhere, huge demographic change as baby boomers depart the workforce in significant numbers, fraying and dragging on the tax base as they pass into retirement.

        That’s the real issue like Brexit and Trump, angry and ageing mostly white men and women demanding that everyone pay attention to them and do as they want, even if it goes against then needs of the nation and future generations?

        MB is gaining a reputation of obsessing about immigrants and population growth, maybe more useful to look into the strategy of how selected fossil fuel and automotive related global oligarchs also have a strong interest in quality of immigrants and encouraging the adoption of statistically inflated population data.

        There is significant push in the home of eugenics ie. UK, to remove students from population data, wait for the screams from SA’s counterparts also linked to US based CIS and Tanton’s (nativist admirer of the white Australia policy) Population Matters (with Paul Ehrlich and overloaded with Tory peers) and Migration Watch (ditto with swivel eyed loons), the latter constantly hectoring and ordering May’s govt on all things immigration and population.

        This is neither left nor right, but more to do with white nationalism and eugenics for the top people, meanwhile the top people’s financial benefits, privileges and status prevail.

        Not sure whether MB editors and contributors need a heads up?

    • HadronCollision

      because most people move to Mel and Syd

      because Australia is centralised

      and there’s no appetite to decentralise

      or will to invest in it (fast rail etc. oh wait the numbers allegedly don’t stack up)

      and we already have an energy issue

      ie we could feasibly support more peeps outside SydMel but need more water infrastructure (including harvesting), better energy infrastructure (renewables based plants, transmission, SOHO generation/storage), transport etc etc the list goes on

      It’s all too hard for these small minded clowns in canberra

      • If you’ve never been an Immigrant yourself than it’s difficult to understand why you need to flock to the same area as other immigrants from your global region. Personally I’m a serial Immigrant so I have no problem understanding this reality, sometimes it’s the simple things like finding your comfort foods, sometimes it’s just having someone that can understand your perspective and tell you that your not going crazy, Aussie can be a crazy mob when viewed through different cultural lenses.
        As a general global rule immigrants flock to the biggest cities in their chosen country, it’s what we’re seeing Australia and it’s what we see in most other countries…one might even call it the norm.

        • “If you’ve never been an Immigrant yourself than it’s difficult to understand why you need to flock to the same area as other immigrants from your global region….

          As a general global rule immigrants flock to the biggest cities in their chosen country, it’s what we’re seeing Australia and it’s what we see in most other countries…one might even call it the norm.”

          Yes, you have stated a fact that is supported by the Productivity Commission and the population data – most immigrants are flocking to Sydney in Melbourne.

          Given the chronic pressures on housing and infrastructure in these two cities, why then should Australia maintain 200,000 permanent migration? It makes absolutely no sense and is a guaranteed way to destroy living standards in these two cities.

    • “I don’t know about all this anti Immigration rhetoric”
      There is no anti immigration rhetoric here. Leith and Sustainable Australia Party are FOR immigration, at a sustainable level. 70,000 per year is still a very considerable intake.

      “I think we need to honestly ask ourselves why Australia is having problems incorporating 200K people per year. Sure it’s a lot of people but averaged over our land area it’s a drop in the bucket”
      Less than 10% of Australia is arable. There is a reason why over 90% of Australians live on 3% of the land. We have economic and environmental limits that we need to recognise.

    • Why should AUS have a higher immigration rate than Canada? Let alone Norway, Iceland, Japan, South Korea.

      Smoking rates are very high in some 3rd world nations – so we are importing cancer that will get free treatment in NSW hospitals.

      Cousin marriage is very prevalent in some parts of the world – so we are importing disabled people.

      And many/most immigrants are willing to work for illegal wages here in order to get an Aussie passport.

      Port Melbourne Primary school is overcrowded and Dan refuses to build another one – so of course we are against more immigration.

    • I respect where you are coming from but we have proven without a doubt that we are absolutely beyond retarded when it comes building transport requirements and infrastructure. I don’t get it. Yet the Chinese can build a highway in a couple of days in relative terms.

      If and when we can fix our gross and spitefully wilful incompetence in this area, which certainly won’t be in our lifetimes, thrn I’m not interested in mass immigration. Ironically the left is by far the worst in this area.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      It’s easy to understand why Immigrants flock to Sydney and Melbourne however it’s a little more difficult to understand why traditional Australians are not taking a wider gaze in their search for a better lifestyle

      Sure thing, Smart. Now where are all those jobs ‘traditional Australians’ need to actually move elsewhere? There’s not much happening here in Adelaide jobswise and it’s still much more diverse employment wise than any large regional centre. Outside of healthcare and lower level education there’s not much to pick from outside of the big cities other than jobs usually very specific to a particular industry or firm that is located in a regional area.

      The funny thing is that as a ‘traditional Australian’ the reason I haven’t already moved to one of those two cities despite some pretty enticing offers at times is precisely because I value basic amenities of life and can’t reconcile earning significantly above average salaries with having SFA left over after paying Sydney level rents (and accepting that home ownership is absolutely impossible rather than merely very difficult). That’s not a calculation or a trade-off that many other ‘traditional Australians’ are in a position to make however.

    • What’s the point of saying ‘averaged over our land area’ when you must know that most of our land area is uninhabitable at anything approaching meaningful population levels needed. Australia has a similar land area t the Sahara desert (we have 25 million, the Sahara region has about 14). So why not send the people there? And why not send them to Antarctica? That has a lot of unused land too. So I hope by now you’ve got the idea that averaging people out over a given land area is a pretty meaningless argument.

    • When I was a lad my mother always complained about the damn wogs taking all our jobs, yet today I can’t imagine an Australia with these Aussies of Southern European origin. I also can’t imagine Sydney without fantastic Lebanese or Chinese food.
      Immigrants opened these restaurants because there was demand for this food from their own people, eventually local Aussies developed a taste for this fare. My point is that Immigrants created the Supply and Immigrants created the Demand and before you know it the Economy doubles in size, more people is the problem and more people is the solution!

      • I like cooking in the French provincial style (leftover chicken and red wine casserole for lunch today…Woot!) but I don’t need to be French to do that. We don’t need Chinese or Lebanese people to cook Chinese and Lebanese food, and much of the “cultural enrichment” benefits of immigration are bullshit. Not all of it obviously, but it’s a vastly overhyped benefit when compared against the disadvantages of loss of quality of life across many dimensions, environmental degradation etc.

        Personally, I’d trade the takeaways for the ability to buy a house to live in at a price that won’t put me into debt slavery and keep me working until I’m 70.

        “…more people is the problem and more people is the solution!”

        Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like gibberish.

      • “My point is that Immigrants created the Supply and Immigrants created the Demand and before you know it the Economy doubles in size, more people is the problem and more people is the solution!”

        And yet the overwhelming majority of Australia’s exports come from resources and agriculture, whereas most of our imports come from consumers in the big cities.

        Growing Sydney and Melbourne via immigration is a guaranteed way of diluting Australia’s mineral wealth, blowing-out the trade deficit and CAD, and blowing-out debt.

        Hardly seems like a recipe for rising living standards, does it?

      • Restrict immigration to chefs from 5 star hotels then.

        No point letting in Indians who agree to work in petrol stations for illegal wages – paying no income tax at all but using taxpayer-funded services like trains and roads.

        And with the urban sprawl caused by mass immigration from the 3rd world, single storey houses are being built on fertile soils in which your beloved food was grown!

        Canada is multicultural and has had way less immigration than AUS over the last 20 years.

      • And yet the overwhelming majority of Australia’s exports come from resources and agriculture
        Agreed it’s a sad fact that this is what Australia has devolved but that said, it changes nothing because Australia’s long term future depends on us utilizing our human capital rather than simply exploiting our resource endowments. The one resource is exhaustible while the other is sustainable.

        • “Australia’s long term future depends on us utilizing our human capital”.

          And yet Australia’s immigration intake is mostly lower skilled (as illustrated in the post). So much for that argument.

          You would have thought that Australia’s knowledge exports would have boomed given the past 15 years of mass immigration. But the opposite has happened. Doh!

      • You would have thought that Australia’s knowledge exports would have boomed given the past 15 years of mass immigration. But the opposite has happened. Doh!
        Yeah agreed Australian’s have done a piss poor job of managing this country especially over the last 15 to 20 years.
        I can’t find it right now but there’s an interesting graph of Aussie Home ownership over the last century. It shows almost a step function change between the late 1940’s and the early 1950’s, during this period Australian home ownership jumped from around 50% to over 70%. The reason was land releases, and regulatory relaxation, Over the last 10 years we’ve seen the trend reverse and I suspect this reversal is not due to population as much as vested interests deliberately creating the illusion of residential land scarcity.

      • You did not answer the question, Smart. Let’s try again
        “..more People is the solution.”
        What is the problem you are trying to solve?

      • Take a look at the Western Australia health department list of prosecuted food outlets – immigrants are bringing in third world health standards as well.

      • I swore I would not comment again but, this is not about race, Totally agree that different cultures have enriched Australia. But the problem is the capacity of major Australian cities to sustain the massive increases in population, which they cannot – the evidence is frankly quite obvious – you don’t need to be an economist, just try and drive to work in the never ending peak hour parking lot, take a train without being virtually trampled in the rush or go to the major hospitals where the health system is so overwhelmed some doctor will turf old people out before they even have a chance to eat their last meal because the bed is needed.

      • The arguments for continuing on with the destructive immigration program are getting weaker all the time

      • Yes, stand in an overcrowded train and thank god for the vindaloo at the local Indian restaurant, even though you can’t afford to eat out due to the astronomical mortgage.

  4. My brother advertised for an apprentice carpenter and I’ll admit he’s not the best at advertising but he said they only had 2 applicants. He told me that the pool of local talent is drying up and TAFE is so bloody expensive that they won’t do it.
    To make it worse, odds are they’ll get a boss who doesn’t realise this crap and expects them to work for peanuts like they had to in the 80’s or 90’s. The lack of incentive for locals (almost giving them the promise of a shit life if they dare to take up the challenge of an apprenticeship) has given the cowboys in the industry the perfect opportunity to flood construction with 457’s.

    • This is deliberate – half the point of the skilled immigration scheme is to allow the government to defund higher education including TAFE while maintaining the supply of cheap workers so that employers don’t get too grumpy.

      • I’ve heard stories from construction sites of workers being bundled into closets when regulators enter the site. Various reasons, inadequate training and bullshit work documents being the most common.

    • Germany has a brilliant apprenticeship program that England is trying to copy.

      What is the unemployment rate in Germany and Japan?

      In AUS, I called up to be an apprentice electrician and the boss asked me if I am happy to work for $200/week. Great? That was less than the Newstart payments I was getting when I called up!

      • That doesn’t sound right. Isn’t apprentice wages a percentage of qualified trade wages, indexed per year? I was an apprentice back in 1990 and my first year wage was $130 a week then. $200 a week wouldn’t have even kept up with inflation!

  5. SchillersMEMBER

    From the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry report: Migrant Intake Into Australia. No.77, 13 April 2016.

    Fiscal impacts (of the parental migration component):

    “(Chapter 9 showed that) in general the fiscal impacts of immigrants are related to their age at arrival and their human capital. For example, younger immigrants with skills contribute significantly to tax revenue, while making fewer demands on transfers and government expenditure. In contrast, reflecting their greater likelihood of ill-health and disability (figure 13.6) and poorer employability, the parent visa stream makes considerable demands on Australia’s health, aged care and social security system (despite a ten year waiting period for access to Age Pension benefits). This is not substantially offset by contributions through taxes paid.19 Accordingly, the costs must be borne by the community as a whole, whereas many of the benefits are obtained by the sponsors and the parents, and not by unrelated members of the Australian community.”

    And furthermore…

    Regardless of questions about the precise net fiscal cost of parent visas, under any reasonable modelling, the current contributory visa charge of $47 295 meets only a small fraction of the fiscal costs for the 7175 contributory parent visa holders in 2015. And an additional 1500 parents make a negligible contribution. Using the AGA’s estimates, in 2015, the net liability for the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8675 visa holders over their lifetimes was between $2.6–3.2 billion (with a best estimate of around $2.9 billion) in present value terms.
    Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. To illustrate this, were the contributory parent visa composite index to grow in line with the projected growth rates of its various components, and parent visas were to grow at 0.5 per cent per year (lower than the modelled growth rate in immigration as a whole), then the cumulative net present value of the costs to the Australian community of the parent visa stream would be between around $73–92 billion for the intakes from 2015 to 2050. Even with no growth in the annual intake, the cost would be between an estimated $68–85billion. This ignores the effect of decreased mortality rates for successive cohorts — which would raise costs further.”

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Yep, despite these facts – Australians are subsidising huge boosts in living quality for hundreds of thousands of new migrants each and every year – all we get are the mainstream media lies about how we should shut up and stop complaining because we are all ‘benefiting’ from it. Obviously that’s code for the extremely wealthy and asset rich benefiting rather than the average person who most certainly isn’t.

  6. But…… this has been the whole point of mass immigration…… We need more, not less, dumb consumers with money in our economy who have no clue as to what money is in the first place….. After all, if the population become wise enough to realize that a housing bubble is non-productive and stop buying into the “let’s all become beautiful” scheme, the whole system will collapse!!

    Seriously, people should spend more time praying in the likes of mosques instead of wasting their time studying science or engineering that are so 20th century!!

  7. A large proportion of the skilled migrants gained their residence after studying here. They work in escess of their alloted 20 hours a week in places like 7-11’s. They accept low wages as long as the employer lets them work more than 20 hours a week. From 2007-2010 there was massive fraud in the vocational skills visa program. The fraud is still there, they just have to be a bit more clever now. The Skilled Occupation List needs to be reduced drastically and if necessary skilled vacancies need to be filled with 457 (temporary) visa holders whom can go home when their visa expires.


    • if necessary skilled vacancies need to be filled with 457 (temporary) visa holders whom can go home when their visa expires.

      The only way out of this predicament is to allow skilled vacancies to stay empty until either rising wages or upskilling programs lead to workers willing and able to fill them.
      The idea that businesses are entitled to skilled workers at bargain basement prices is a necessary, if not quite sufficient, condition for the current debacle.

  8. – But who needs “skilled” workers when companies are using more automation and more robots ?

  9. – And this “record permanent immigration program” is so massive that it overwhelms the people who need to make a decision of who is skilled and who’s not skilled. This is the way those “unskilled” immigrants are able to enter Australia without too much difficulty.
    – Australia’s companies love it. It allowes them to “import” people who are earning lower wages and are competition for the average australian worker. And the pollies in Canberra are surprised to see that “populists” are gaining more and more (political) ground ?