Dr Bob Birrell: High immigration eating youth jobs

By Leith van Onselen

Dr Bob Birrell from Australian Population Research Institute has argued that foreign students are locking younger Australians out of the jobs market. From the Herald-Sun:

TENS of thousands of foreign students are prolonging their stay in Australia by switching visas to become tourists, partners of local residents and even asylum seekers.

A massive 443,798 overseas students — a population the size of Canberra — were in the country as of June 30, and they all have the right to work up to 20 hours a week…

In 2016-17 across Australia about 200,000 foreign students already here got new visas, including 37,759 who transferred to the temporary graduate 485 visa allowing them to stay in Australia with full-time work rights for at least two years.

A further 39,945 former student visa holders got tourist visas, 10,685 scored the temporary skilled 457 visa, 8199 got to stay as spouses or betrothed of locals, and 864 convinced authorities that they were asylum seekers.

Demographer Dr Bob Birrell, from the Australian Population Research Institute, said the size of the foreign student population was mind-boggling, and it was clear that most wanted to extend their stay in Australia.

“It’s obvious that the attraction to come to Australia is primarily access to our job market and ultimately to permanent residency,” he said.

“The problem is that we have acute competition in the job markets that these temporary migrants are entering, and that has a massive significance for younger Australians who are moving from school into work without formal qualifications”…

[Birrell] said that federal authorities were dealing with a legacy of successive governments encouraging temporary entrants to stay for long periods in Australia.

As of December 31, 2016, there were 2.09 million temporary entrants here with work rights, including New Zealand citizens with special visas, foreign students, working holiday makers and temporary skilled workers.

The broad macro data backs up Dr Birrell’s claims. Since the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008, the total number of jobs for people aged 15-24 years old has fallen by 1.2%, whereas full-time jobs have collapsed by 19.1%. And this comes despite a 7.5% lift in the 15-24 year old population over that period:

Meanwhile, the labour underutilisation rate for those aged 15-24 years old is close to the highest on record at 30.9%:

As it stands, young Australians are being crushed by increased competition for jobs, lower wages, as well as upward pressure on house prices in the migrant hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne. Meanwhile, the rest of us living in the major cities are suffering from worsening congestion, ever-rising infrastructure charges, and declining livability as the population swells year after year.

The reality is that Australia’s education system has become an integral part of the immigration industry and Australia’s population ponzi – effectively a way for foreigners to buy backdoor permanent residency to Australia.

Dr Jenny Stewart, Honorary Professor of Public Policy at the University of New South Wales, drew the direct link between permanent residency and foreign student demand in her excellent article Hooked on Students:

If you work in a university, you cannot help but be aware of the extent to which universities are dependent upon income from international undergraduate students. Many of us working in the sector realised that it was not for any intellectual brilliance on our part that the students came, but because for many, coming to Australia as a student was a significant step on the path to becoming an Australian resident…

What do these undergraduate students do once they have completed their qualification? Many, understandably, wish to remain in Australia…

With appropriate advice and support and the necessary persistence, it would seem to be possible for just about any international student who is a graduate of an Australian university to become, eventually, a permanent resident…

Underpinning this flood of students is the federal government’s permanent migrant intake, which has been set at the ridiculously high level of 200,000 (two-thirds “skilled”), which is 2.5 times the level that existed at the turn of the century and higher than at the peak of the mining boom:

It is unlikely that Australia’s education exports would be anywhere near as high if the carrot of permanent migration was not attached. That is, if Australia’s universities and vocational education providers had to compete solely on quality, they probably wouldn’t be able to stand on their own two feet.

Put another way, if this permanent migrant intake was lowered back to around 90,000, foreign students would have less opportunity to become permanent residents. Thus, their decision to study in Australia would be based solely on the prestige of Australia’s universities and the quality of teaching, not because it represents a backdoor way of migrating into Australia.

In reality, Australia’s education exports are to a large extent really “citizenship exports”. The broader implications for our education and training systems, the labour market, our infrastructure systems, and for housing markets, need to be much more carefully – and openly – thought through.

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Comments

  1. Regardless – none of the three major parties will even contemplate lowering immigration rates.

    The only way to get the message out there that we are not happy with ridiculously huge numbers flooding in is to vote Sustainable next time, but unfortunately their votes will be a drop in the ocean.

    • There are more Chinese students voting for SRC than total Sustainable votes in Australia.

      International students win power in University of Sydney election
      Panda Warriors demand:
      – Mandarin language support for housing, academic, and visas.
      – Concession fares on public transport
      – Discounted fees for Chinese students

      ‘Panda Warriors’ won and had eight candidates elected to the Student Representative Council.

      • Philly SlimMEMBER

        high time we disenfranchised international students on the SRC. Pay your money and shut your traps!

  2. lol, the hell are these foreign students who are shacking up with locals? what’s up with that?!? sounds like there might be some rorting going on, bc i cant really see a lot of aussies going for international students, who are despised by local students.

  3. I have a book on the 3rd world that was printed in the 1970s…it said “whatever economic gains this nation makes is eaten up by rapid population growth”.

    Yet, the stupid ALP and Greens think Australia should have exactly the same rate of population increase as that 3rd world basket case had in the 1970s.

    • That’s in the context of the dependency ratio. Third world countries had more than half of the population younger than 15. Fertility rates are dropping fast though. You can already see signs of some third world countries catching up while places like Australia regress.

  4. The permanent and temporary immigrant programs are the root cause of most of Australia’s problems.
    Australia is an immigration druggie, always trying for a bigger fix.The refugee intake increases to 18,750 per annum from next year, a whopping 36.3% increase. Tears of joy from the elites, but it’ll never be enough.
    There’s still 29,000 illegal maritime arrivals yet to be resolved from Labor’s days, they’re wondering around on bridging visas

    Apart from cutting the permanent immigration program back to at least 70,000 including the refugee intake, the Special Category visa for kiwis needs to be wound back, capped, or abolished
    There should be no work rights for any foreign students and no onshore immigration applications either, go back to country of origin and you can be eligible to apply after a year back home.
    The 457 visa should only be for truly specialist occupations, no occupations that are normally taught in Australia are permitted..

    Unfortunately for the young, most just don’t get it, they’ve been brainwashed through the education system to think immigrants are good and Australia is a rich country.They don’t seem to link their unemployment or housing affordability with the migrant ponzi.

    • Yes, long gone are the days where overseas students studied in Australia and then had to go home and apply for migration from there.We had quality immigrants then, not the peasants rorting the student visa program as we have now. Education is now our biggest services “export”. No party is going to take away the PR carrot. Nothing is going to change.

  5. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “A massive 443,798 overseas students — a population the size of Canberra — were in the country as of June 30, and they all have the right to work up to 20 hours a week…”

    That’s a remarkable number, I intend to bring that figure up at my next Labor party branch meeting.
    Is the 200k permanent intake part of that 443k number, or in addition to 443k?

    • They’re different things, as I read it.
      443k is the amount of water in the bucket right now (students bucket only).

      200k is the amount pouring out of the tap every year. It’s going into different buckets (student bucket, 457 bucket, kiwi bucket and others).

      • So…those temporary students from the 443,000 who go on to get permanent residence are counted in the 200,000 (approx) annual skilled migrant intake. Is that right? Or are they in addition to the annual +200K?

    • As I understand it we take 200k permanents each year then on top of that, at any given moment we are hosting 443k foreign students, 650k kiwis, 95k 457s etc.

      • Martin, I think the 443,000 is just the number of overseas students. The more concerning figure is the 2.09 million foreigners in Australia. Foreigners who have the right to work here. From Dr. Birrell’s research above…
        “As of December 31, 2016, there were 2.09 million temporary entrants here with work rights, including New Zealand citizens with special visas, foreign students, working holiday makers and temporary skilled workers.”

        It’s my understanding that this figure has increased dramatically over the last 12-15 years. It’s not just the (official) annual permanent skilled migrant intake, but more the explosion in numbers of foreigners with work rights (our version of ‘green’ cards) that are allowed to work for often extended periods whilst living in Australia “temporarily”.

      • Schillers – work rights are to Green Cards. The Aus equivalent of Green Cards is Permanent Residency.

        US has their own system of visas equivalent to our working visas (such as H1B for example)

    • This is something I’ve banged on about many times on here. Someone else posted all the different visa numbers and it immediately became clear that 457s are a relatively small part of the overall immigration intake, with by far the biggest chunk being foreign students. I remember posting that something like one in every 40 people currently in Aus is a foreign student (600k+ of them). Something like that…

      Obviously many of these students will want to stay and that’s why they came here in the first place. We’re paying a very high price for the expansionary plans of our education sector.

  6. “A massive 443,798 overseas students — a population the size of Canberra — were in the country as of June 30, and they all have the right to work up to 20 hours a week…”

    And what percentage are underpaid, working 20 hours on the books — but more in practice?

    But nah, the locals don’t want those jobs.. supposedly.

  7. Anecdotally, I am aware of a former financial planning firm from Melbourne (doors are now shut) whose business model was as unsophisticated as “get parents of wealthy foreign students to pay their children’s salary, plus a little extra, post-education, in order to entitle them to PR”.

  8. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I believe that most youth are just eating way too much food and getting too fat and lazy to work hard to achieve anything anymore. Having such a large contingent of hard working foreign students has been a blessing. We could do with even more as they help keep the price of massages and bought relations low!

  9. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    Why do people insist on calling this model ‘an export market?’.

    Most people think of exports as something we make here and then send overseas. why aren’t foreign students thought of as imports?

      • Philly SlimMEMBER

        Then stop them working to earn AUD whilst they are here. The problem is most aren’t actually importing the full freight of their course. Hence education “exports” in my comment below.

    • We are selling something of ours to people who originate from outside our borders.

      Aussie tourism is also an ‘export’ – even though it is ‘consumed’ here.

  10. why Australia doesn’t limit foreign student employment and employment of their spouses same way US does ?

    because none would come to get our worthless degrees.

  11. It’s a simple design. Increase demand “for everything” and the resources will eventually go to those who work and produce at the lowest rate. The neox’s love it. Increasingly those with the right skills will get the jobs as many of the current jobs will just evaporate. The government and we the people are not ready, and even if you have the right skills, but are over some age limit that Oz seems to apply jobs will be hard to find. Even now people in this situation start their own businesses if they can. With all the political turmoil who is watching this as within an election cycle or two it’ll get messy imo.

    • Hi – yes, it’s probably more now.
      The 2.1 million temporary visas was at ABF data at dec 2016 & growing at rates of 6%-8% YtY. Link below.
      And that doesn’t include the tourists working illegally or overstayers.
      The figure is closer to 2.6 million migrant guestworkers on some form of a pretext visas.
      2.1 million Temporary visas, plus 440k or 5% tourist / visitors working illegally (ABF estimate). plus 65k overstayers – ABF.

      https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/temp-entrants-aus-31-dec-2016.pdf

      Closer to 550,000 international students with fake partners & associated visas. 650,000 coming in on the NZ SCV backdoor, one third non nz born, 150,000 457/458 primary / non primary and only 25,000 actually skilled, bridging, long stay visitor visas,, you name it.

      80% including NZ SCV non NZ born are of third world origin. 85% plus – maybe 90% are unskilled.

      88% plus concentration in the two capital cities.
      1.3 million in Sydney,
      1.0 million in Melbourne,
      300k elsewhere.

      All here to work illegally, pay back the loans from the foreign criminal syndicate/agent procurers & to send back the remittances.

      Economic impact.
      Only $4.5 billion of ‘declared funds’ comes in. And a lot of that is faked.
      They form a $105 billion underground & illicit or vice sub economy. Fake ID, illegal or vice. Little or no tax paid. $36 billion in cash xfers, agent & procurer debt and remittances then flows out = -2% GDP.

      Lowering wages, destroying Australian jobs, debasing housing, education dropped 10 places globally as it prostituted itself to a visa alibi & destroying our standards of living.
      50,000 Australian homeless.
      Pushed out by 340,000 ex Australian dwellings now converted to migrant slum bunk share – sub let cash in hand – that now stretch out to the horizon.

      => Here only to get that PR & drag in the rest of their third world unskilled welfare & health care burden.

      “Oh but they fill a gap in the employment market”.
      “We have capacity to absorb this..”
      Nope.

      2 Million Australians unemployed or seeking work.
      Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2015 – 2017)

      September 2015
      1,994,000 15.6% total seeking work.
      1,058,000 or 8.3% are unemployed
      936,000 or 7.3% are underemployed

      September 2016
      2,103,000 16.2% total seeking work.
      1,101,000 or 8.5% are unemployed
      1,002,000 or 7.7% are under-employed

      September 2017
      2,498,000 18.9% total seeking work.
      => Yty worse by -2.7%
      1,202,000 or 9.1-% are unemployed
      =>Yty 101,000 worse
      1,296,000 or 9.8% are underemployed
      =>Yty 294,000 worse
      =>Yty total = 395,000 worse.

      Every migrant guestworker is now more than one to one to an Australian seeking work.

      The craziest, most uneconomic and socially destructive migrant guestworker program in the world.

  12. Bob’s figures don’t match the departments, falling short a full 110,000: Figures from the federal Education Department show there were 554,179 full-fee paying international students in 2016, an increase of more than 10 per cent on the previous year.

    • Visa churning – student visitor partner bridging
      Here’s the ABF data dec 2016
      There’s well over 2.1 million TR now.
      The 2.1 million temporary visas was at dec 2016 & growing at rates of 6%-8% YtY.
      And that doesn’t include the tourists working illegally or overstayers.
      The figure is closer to 2.6 million migrant guestworkers on some form of a pretext visas.
      2.1 million Temporary visas, plus 440k or 5% tourist / visitors working illegally (ABF estimate). plus 65k overstayers – ABF.

      https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/temp-entrants-aus-31-dec-2016.pdf

      Closer to 550,000 international students with fake partners & associated visas. 650,000 coming in on the NZ SCV backdoor, one third non nz born, 150,000 457/458 primary / non primary and only 25,000 actually skilled, bridging, long stay visitor visas,, you name it.

      80% including NZ SCV non NZ born are of third world origin. 85% plus – maybe 90% are unskilled.

      88% plus concentration in the two capital cities.
      1.3 million in Sydney,
      1.0 million in Melbourne,
      300k elsewhere.

      All here to work illegally, pay back the loans from the foreign criminal syndicate/agent procurers & to send back the remittances.

  13. Our government doesn’t give a toss about anyone, they only care about the holy grail of the “GDP” so they can be the “best economic managers” People don’t even come into the equation.

  14. Philly SlimMEMBER

    Whenever you refer to education exports can you put the “exports” in inverted commas.

    The fact that foreign students can work is crazy. They are literally not exports at all. All of them earning AUD and probably importing lots of things required to live in this country (as does each resident because mostly we run a CAD shortfall).

    You cannot work on a US education visa (trust me, I studied in the US) and so we should not allow it here.

  15. Its a good article.

    I do however have a bone to pick with this sentence – “In reality, Australia’s education exports are to a large extent really “citizenship exports”.”. When reading this I think it may seem to some that we are exporting people overseas, when in fact we are importing them via the duplicitous tertiary education scams. I would just refer to it as “a government mandated local worker replacement scam implemented via the self-serving university degree factories in order to contain wages and decimate the market bargaining power of local labour”.

    The extent to which the tertiary education system generates a national net benefit from the overseas students is unclear because the figures spouted by the universities and DFAT do not cover any of the costs to us both now and into the future as these people displace locals, push up property prices, send money overseas while working here in the future, impose social costs by bringing in their relatives, and impose a vast range of social costs (health, education, infrastructure etc).

    People need to consider that if they want to make a difference – Vote One Nation. There is nothing else left out there to vote for if you want change.

  16. 2.6 million migrant guestworkers on pretext visas.
    (2.1 million Temporary visas, plus 440k or 5% tourist / visitors working illegally, plus 65k overstayers – ABF)

    https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/temp-entrants-aus-31-dec-2016.pdf

    Closer to 550,000 international students with fake partners & associated visas. 650,000 coming in on the NZ SCV backdoor, one third non nz born, 150,000 457/458 primary / non primary and only 25,000 actually skilled, bridging, long stay visitor visas,, you name it.
    80% including NZ SCV non NZ born are of third world origin. 85% plus – maybe 90% are unskilled.

    88% plus concentration in the two capital cities.
    1.3 million in Sydney,
    1.0 million in Melbourne,
    300k elsewhere.

    All here to work illegally, pay back the loans from the foreign criminal syndicate/agent procurers & to send back the remittances.

    Economic impact.
    Only $4.5 billion of ‘declared funds’ comes in.
    And a lot of that is faked.
    They form a $105 billion underground & illicit or vice sub economy. Fake ID, illegal or vice. Little or no tax paid. $36 billion in cash xfers, agent & procurer debt and remittances then flows out = -2% GDP.

    Lowering wages, destroying Australian jobs, debasing housing, education dropped 10 places globally as it prostituted itself to a visa alibi & destroying our standards of living.
    50,000 Australian homeless.
    Pushed out by 340,000 ex Australian dwellings now converted to migrant slum bunk share – sub let cash in hand – that now stretch out to the horizon.

    => Here only to get that PR & drag in the rest of their third world unskilled welfare & health care burden.

    “Oh but they fill a gap in the employment market”.
    “We have capacity to absorb this..”
    Nope.
    2 Million Australians unemployed or seeking work.
    Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment Estimates (2015 – 2017)

    September 2015
    1,994,000 15.6% total seeking work.
    1,058,000 or 8.3% are unemployed
    936,000 or 7.3% are underemployed

    September 2016
    2,103,000 16.2% total seeking work.
    1,101,000 or 8.5% are unemployed
    1,002,000 or 7.7% are under-employed

    September 2017
    2,498,000 18.9% total seeking work.
    => Yty worse by -2.7%
    1,202,000 or 9.1-% are unemployed
    =>Yty 101,000 worse
    1,296,000 or 9.8% are underemployed
    =>Yty 294,000 worse
    =>Yty total = 395,000 worse.

    Every migrant guestworker is now more than one to one to an Australian seeking work.

    The craziest, most uneconomic and socially destructive migrant guestworker program in the world.

  17. I’d suggest one needs to be a little sceptical considering the sources used, confusing data presentation, seguing on definitions and tied together with opinion, then followed with uninformed and ignorant comments; welcome to Australia the smartest people in the world. Meanwhile we start looking and sounding more like the UK and US everyday ready for the planned ‘Anglosphere’ run by the top WASPs for the top 0.1% 🙂

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