Labour market outcomes worse for migrants than Aussie born


By Leith van Onselen

Last year’s Productivity Commission Migrant Intake Australia report found 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 worse outcomes:

Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Characteristics of Recent Migrants report, which has also found that migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population.

The first table below shows that the lion’s share of recent migrants are in the ‘permanent’ (588,200) and ‘temporary’ (662,900) streams, whereas ‘Australian citizens’ (360,200) make up the minority:


However, both unemployment and labour force participation are worse than Australian born residents for all categories of migrants (and indeed migrants overall) with the exception of those with ‘Australian citizenship’ (see far right columns below):


So much for the notion that migrants have greater labour market attachment than the incumbent population.

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About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.