Australia’s skilled visa program piles up idle migrants

MB has long argued that Australia’s skilled visa program is poorly targeted with the majority of visas granted to professions experiencing an oversupply of workers.

The below chart illustrates the problem. According to the Department of Jobs and Small Business, skills shortages across managerial and professional occupations were running way below the historical average at near recessionary levels in 2017 (latest data available):

This matters because out the 111,099 skilled permanent visas handed out in 2017-18, three-quarters were for professionals and managers, where skills shortages are largely non-existent.

To add insult to injury, out of the top five occupations granted skilled visas in 2017-18, none were deemed to be in shortage over the four years to 2017:

  • Accountants (3505)
  • Software Engineer (3112)
  • Registered Nurses (1561)
  • Developer Programmer (1487)
  • Cook (1257)

The same applies for Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas. Here, there were 34,450 primary visas granted in 2017-18, of which 25,620 (74%) were for professionals and managers, again where skills shortages are largely non-existent. Further, neither of the two biggest visa categories – cook and chef – were deemed to be in shortage by the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

With this background in mind, it is worth documenting recent media reports about migrants brought to Australia under its skilled visa program that either cannot find work matching their skills or are unemployed.

Here’s Exhibit One:

Australia’s skilled migrant visa 189 is often referred to as the “lucky visa” because its holders enjoy the full rights and privileges of a permanent resident from day one in Australia, which isn’t the case for many other types of visas.

But that reputation may be misleading, as those who come to Australia on skilled visas aren’t always lucky enough to find work in their field…

Shady El-Agamy is a 28-year-old Egyptian migrant who was granted a 189 skilled migrant visa just nine months after applying from Cairo.

The professional skill for which Shady was selected is engineering, having studied petroleum engineering and later specialising as an occupational health and safety engineer with 3 years’ experience and a British certification under his belt. He believed demand for his skills must be high in Australia, but when he landed in Sydney in May of 2018, he discovered a different reality.

Not only was Shady unable to find a job in his field, but he says he never received replies from the dozens of employers and recruitment agencies he applied for work through…

Like many migrants, Shady realised his options were limited and looked for ‘temporary’ work to get by until he could land a job in his field. That job was shovelling manure at a horse stable, and a year later he’s still working the same job, barely making minimum wage. Shady is not an isolated case…

According to a study from settlement agency AMES Australia, in 2013 only 53 per cent of skilled migrants to Australia managed to find jobs in their nominated field. Almost half ended up having to take whatever jobs they could find in order to get by.

That figure appears to have improved over the past six years. A spokesperson from Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) however tells SBS Arabic24 that:

“Almost 70 per cent of the surveyed Skilled Migrant population are employed in either their nominated occupation or an occupation of equivalent or higher skill level.”

…why were skilled migrants recruited to come to Australia to work in fields said to lack skilled workers, when the job market may prove otherwise?…

DoHA says, “the lists are designed to be dynamic and target skills needs in the short, medium and longer term, as well as skills needed in regional Australia”…

This means that if you see your occupation on this list, the expectation is that demand exists for that job in Australia and not enough supply. Yet, this begs the question of how come 30 per cent of migrants still can’t get jobs in the fields they were nominated to come to Australia?

It is worth noting that engineering has not been in shortage since 2013, according to the Department of Jobs & Small Business. So why are we bringing in skilled migrant engineers for jobs that do not exist?

Here’s Exhibit Two:

Vageesh Malhotra has been in Australia for six months after arriving from India on a skilled migrant visa, but he is yet to find a job matching his experience.

“I’m basically working in a restaurant and that’s what I’m doing right now,” he told SBS News.

Besides working in restaurants, the sales and business development professional has also been driving for Uber.

“It is difficult in the sense that the qualifications I have is not necessarily required to do the kind of job that I’m doing,” he said…

Australia’s current migration intake sits just above 162,000, including about 111,000 skilled places.

The numbers show there is a need for skilled migrants, but a lack of knowledge of the local job market appears to be a barrier when it comes to many job searches getting a look in.

Here’s Exhibit Three:

Bhavesh Patel*, a mechanical engineer from Ahmedabad has applied for numerous jobs and appeared for three interviews since arriving in Melbourne a year ago.

He is yet to find a job in his field and is currently working at a 7-Eleven store to make ends meet.

Mr Patel is one of the many recently-arrived migrants who have not found a professional job in Australia…

Skilled Occupations Lists are in over supply and therefore most recently arrived skilled migrants to Australia have not found professional jobs.

The study states the Skilled Occupations List includes “numerous professions that the government’s own Department of Employment has judged to be oversupplied, including accounting and engineering.

“As a consequence, most recently arrived skilled migrants cannot find professional jobs.”

Again, engineering has not been in shortage since 2013. So why is Australia bringing in skilled migrant engineers?

And finally, here’s Exhibit Four, which profiles a permanent skilled migrant family from Bangladesh who was not been able to gain work in South Australia despite leaving their homeland to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’. Accordingly, migrant groups demanded that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field:

All of which begs the question: why does Australia operate a strong skilled visa program when there are minimal shortages and insufficient jobs? To add to the pool of underemployed and unemployed? To rob developing nations of their skilled workers? To suppress wages?

Clearly, Australia’s skilled visa program is one giant con that is failing dismally to meet its original intent, while also crush-loading the major cities and smashing wages. It needs root-and-branch reform.
Unconventional Economist
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  1. Like many migrants, Shady realised his options were limited and looked for ‘temporary’ work to get by until he could land a job in his field. That job was shovelling manure at a horse stable, and a year later he’s still working the same job, barely making minimum wage.

    Wonder if Shady the egyptian is working for shady Gerry Harvey in his horse stud? Seems our scummy elite are winning the war.

  2. What I find infuriating is the amount of media time immigrants get when they get duped by our immigration ponzi yet the fate of our own young people is completely swept under the rug or even worse they are labelled as bludgers for not competing for ever less well paying or secure jobs. It’s like the whole country values immigrants more than it does it’s own young. Shameful.

    • Yep, when migrants complain about being underpaid there is no mention that local kids have missed out on the jobs. When migrants buy overpriced plots of land and units there is no mention of locals being priced out.

    • What’s even worse you have skilled people taking jobs from people whos only chance of getting a job maybe have been shovelling ship or a 7/11 only now to spend the rest of their life on the dole and possibly end up homeless.

  3. And at the other end of the vibrancy spectrum, we have these CVNTS, also brought into the country courtesy of Scummo:

    Jayden D’Abaco, 19, was chased and beaten in a “spontaneous” attack by the group, described as being African in appearance, as he walked alone to the Mynt Lounge nightclub in Werribee about 10.30 on Saturday night.

    The rule should be deportation for the entire family if any one family member is involved in this.

    Message to the ‘African-Australian’ ‘community’: either control your members or GTFO of Australia.

  4. Isn’t the Adelaide the city where locals flee for greener career pastures on the east coast becauae salaries are low, jobs are few and far between and there is little chance of scoring a role without knowing someone who knows someone?

    It almost seems like an odd form of cruelty to be poaching the skilled workers from other countries, then tethering them to linger in such a place.

    But this is the same government that is pressuring people to move to isolated country towns, where the locals won’t be friends with you let alone give you a job unless you grew up there and went to school with them, so what would I know.

    • Your wrong, we live in a regional town and our local pub wouldn’t give our daughter a job even though she has the experience instead they brought someone in from Canada, this countries forked.

  5. @timmeh “It’s like the whole country values immigrants more than it does it’s own young. Shameful.”
    Don’t mistake media propaganda for the values of australians.

    Also, the skilled migrant systems is delivering exactly as intended, suppressing local wages. Again, any other claim about it’s intent is clearly propaganda.
    Maybe we should try a dictatorship for a while in australia because at least under a totalitarian govenrment the populace understands they are being lied to and “managed”.

  6. Shady is qualified in “petroleum engineering”.

    I know two petroleum engineers personally who came from the Middle East during the post-GFC commodities boom, both got jobs initially but have been largely unemployed since 2015/2016 – one is on contract at the moment. Begs the question how Shady was able to get in on a similar visa in 2018.

  7. Unfortunately the Institute of Engineers supports greater numbers of migrant engineers. The Institute makes money from assessing qualifications (whilst supporting vibrancy of course!). The Institute eats its young for its own interests.

    • CPA Australia did the same thing, grow it’s membership/revenue base by importing as many new accountants into Australia by having it listed as a skills shortage… Which culminated in Alex Malley being fired after a membership revolt 2 years ago from CPAs sick of a self interested membership body.

      Nothing like an institution valuing growing their revenue from new customers over supporting the existing ones… Just a microcosm for how the rest of Australia operates really

  8. Why don’t we just bring them in if there’s a guaranteed job lined up with an actual employer?

    • We shouldn’t be offering PR offshore, full-stop. Only give temporary visas for genuine skills shortages, and if the skills shortage persists, then those with those skills get offered PR.

  9. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Aren’t software engineer and developer programmer two different names for the same IT nerd duty?

    • Yep, never understood the difference since I have been in jobs with both titles doing the same type of work.

  10. “Why don’t we just bring them in if there’s a guaranteed job lined up with an actual employer?”
    Because that produces significantly less downwards pressure on wages? Because it makes it much harder to pump the population ponzi?
    Or was your question rhetorical?

  11. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Shady should have gone to Singapore…..isn’t that where straya gets all its petroleum done ?

  12. @ Mark above, The Institute of Chartered Accountants is similarly up to its eyeballs in the immigration racket. And of course, the big 4 have their hands in the govt’s pocket with countless reports telling one and all how good immigration is. The final nail in the coffin is that the Institute now covers both Aust and NZ so any vibrant can come in via the NZ swing doors.

    • From my comment above CPA is the same. It’s a joke but at least we had a CEO fired over it!

  13. “The professional skill for which Shady was selected is engineering, having studied petroleum engineering and later specialising as an occupational health and safety engineer with 3 years’ experience and a British certification under his belt… Like many migrants, Shady realised his options were limited and looked for ‘temporary’ work to get by until he could land a job in his field. That job was shovelling manure at a horse stable…”

    We need more highly qualified poop-a-scoopers.

  14. Engineers Australia make bank by accrediting the qualifications of foreign engineers, so their main scam is flooding Australia with foreigners. There could be zero demand for engineers in this country and EA would still be lobbying to bring them in by the truckload so that their vastly overpaid CEO can trouser has massive bonus.

    I was an EA member for many years, but cancelled my membership in disgust at this a few years ago. Why should I pay money to belong to a professional organisation that tries to put me on the dole by importing cheap foreigners?

    And the reason many of these people can’t find work is that they can’t speak and write business English. The EA website used to be full of semi-literate complaints from engineers from all over the world who had come here and were wondering why they couldn’t find work. I could have told them in a second that if you don’t know how to spell, or use punctuation, or how to string words into a coherent sentence then potential employers will scramble to use the “no local experience” excuse to reject you. What employer wants to pay a fortune to an engineer who can’t write a proposal, or a report, or a user manual or any other sort of customer facing document?

    And as for Shady…well, he needs to change his name to something less suspicious. I recommend Dodgy McSh1tshoveller as a suitable option.

  15. TailorTrashMEMBER

    @GG ‘“who would call their child shady?”

    ……was in the English Midlands a few years ago
    spotted quite a few properties with for sale signs by this lot …….the English Midlands are very vibrant too…

  16. Jumping jack flash

    People need more debt to buy the things they need. Incomes alone just can’t cut it anymore.
    Try saving up for a house to avoid needing debt, in the location you need. Impossibru!

    Income is only as good as the HEM, and then with the rest you see how much debt you can leverage.

    Globalisation and hyper-competitiveness has stopped inflation dead in many sectors, and this flows through of course to wages.
    Why buy the widget or gadget at Gerry Harvey’s or Jarcar, or wherever, when you get the exact same one for a tenth of the price direct from the Chinese factory?

    In short, from a business owner’s perspective the only way to increase your wages these days is to continually substitute your workers with cheaper ones to free up capacity, and then put it in your pocket.
    From a worker’s perspective, the only way to increase wages is to jump ship to somewhere that’s paying more. But beware, if they’re paying too much more over the new, low, low market price for labour, then the whole place will probably go bankrupt soon.

  17. The entire visa system is totally corrupted.

    Every visa category is rorted.
    Students, partners, protection, scv, regional, skilled.
    The 2.561 million TR? At least 1.5 million on a visa pretext or in visa breach.

    None of these people are ‘skilled’.

    For a start on the ‘skilled visa’ categories – more than half are spousal & dependents!

    They are invariably third world unskilled slum & rural poor.
    They are packaged up by a foreign agent procurer with the fake documents & fake health check & often a fake identity plus a fake spouse & fake dependents as well..,

    They got the ‘loan’ from the foreign criminal syndicates & loan shark – to pay the agent & bribes plus to pay the family debt, the dowry, the money owed to some other family in the village, to repay the gambling debts, or because the cow died, to repay money owed to a local gang or else get some into Australia who is seriously diseased or needs medical care etc.

    -> Always. That’s what is coming in.

    We don’t get the best & brightest.
    We don’t get skilled.

    We get third world useless, unemployable, detritus liars, ammoral. Petty criminals, vice workers, misfits, mentally ill, old, sick and diseased. On fake doc and fake health checks.

    -> All are willing participants in visa fraud thru the whole process from recruitment by the foreign run criminal agent procurers – to work & live illegally in Australia.

    To repay that agent loan debt.
    To send back the remittances.
    To steal and fraud our Medicare using a PR Medicare care ($150 for a PR Medicare name/age & blood type match in Lakemba), to steal & resell the PBS drugs back in China, India, Bangladesh.
    To try and secure a PR for themselves and be the anchor to sponsor more third world useless in chain migration.

    🔹1.9 million third world unskilled useless PR
    Chinese Hukou underclass on welfare
    Indian old sick slum & rural trash on welfare
    East & North Asian lowlife on welfare
    Middle Eastern criminals violent antisocial welfare
    African congenitally psychotic on welfare

    🔹Plus 2.561 million as ‘TR’
    Fake students, Fake partners, fake spousal, fake scv, Fake working holiday, fake skilled, fake everything.

    🔹Plus 440k tourist visitors working illegally (5% of the 8.8 million yearly – ABF). Indian, Chinese, south has East Asian, Middle Eastern. Absolute low life third world unskilled who couldn’t even scrape in as a TR.

    🔹And 65,000 overstayers.

    ➡️ That’s 5 million

    5 million third world low life migrants non citizens with the majority on pretext visas only here to steal jobs & housing.

    86% or 4.3 million in either Sydney or Melbourne.

    2.3 million are in Sydney.
    43% of every person in Sydney a non citizen.
    A third world migrant either on welfare or in visa breach.

    2.0 million in Melbourne.
    40% of everyone in Melbourne.
    Same unskilled third world migraht lowlife profile.

  18. If we’re not going to scrap the bulk of these bogus visas, maybe for the sake of these sookie-la-la migrants, we scrap them for their sake, so as to not disappoint?