Migrant visa tsunami pushes older Australians onto dole queue

Recall Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor, Phil Lowe’s, testimony on Friday to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, whereby Lowe wrongly claimed that increased labour force participation from older Australians is one of the key reasons for excess capacity in Australia’s labour market and why wage growth has stuck to historically low levels:

What’s happened is that increased demand for labour has been met with more labour supply, especially by women and older Australians. Reflecting this, a higher share of the Australian adult population is participating in the labour market than has ever been the case before. I want to be clear: this is very good news. But one of the side-effects of this flexibility of labour supply is that it’s proving harder to generate a tighter labour market and so, in turn, it’s been hard to generate a material lift in aggregate wages growth.

Superficially at least, the RBA’s claim contains a kernel of truth. As shown in the next chart, the labour force participation rate of over-65s has more than doubled since 2000, and there is obviously much further scope for participation to lift given the legislated increase the Aged Pension eligibility age to 67 from 2023, as well as people living heathier for longer.

That said, while labour force participation is rising among older Australians, many are also struggling to find work and are joining the ranks of the unemployed, according to analysis from Fairfax:

There are now a record 610,000 people 65 or older holding down part or full time work.

But despite the large increase, many older Australians are finding it very difficult to get work with a 39 per cent jump in the number of unemployed over 65s looking to tie down a full time job…

Unemployment across 65-year-olds looking for any type of work has jumped by almost 28 per cent. Across the general population it fell by a full percentage point over the past year…

National Seniors chief advocate Ian Henschke said many older Australians faced prejudice as they tried to get a job which would worsen as more people sought work in their 60s.

What is generally ignored is that Australia’s strong migration program is displacing older workers and forcing them onto the unemployment queue. That is, by allowing employers to pluck cheap migrant workers en masse, they are discouraged from hiring and training local workers, including those aged over 65.

The data supports this contention. According to recent research from Professor Peter McDonald from Melbourne University, migrants took 83% of jobs created between 2011 and 2016:

From July 2011 to July 2016, employment in Australia increased by 738,800. Immigrants accounted for 613,400 of the total increase…

Migration has had a very large effect on the age structure of employment with most new immigrant workers (595,300) being under 55 years.

In a world of rapidly expanding automation, labour force shrinkage should be viewed as a boon, not a threat. Our expanding ability to automate human work across all sectors — agriculture, industry, and services — makes an ever-growing workforce through immigration unnessary and more likely to add to unemployment and create wage stagnation.

Australia will never achieve ‘full employment’ or solid wage growth while it continues to import migrant workers in bulk.

Leith van Onselen


  1. It’s a tsunami of foreigners in our hospitals too. Many who I see can barely speak English but they all know how to rort medicare and demand interpreting services at massive cost

    • Indeed. Got the Medicare number, age 70, multiple comorbidities, not a word of English and getting an $8000-$10000 day procedure. Rinse and repeat. Warms my heart.

    • Biometrics on Medicare cards required.

      Any tourist visas from problematic countries must have proof of holding Australian-based visitor health insurance. No proof, no entry.

      Just need a few to rock up after a long flight from India and sent back immediately for this to send a message that we are not a health service for your crippled masses.

  2. Why on earth should it be good news that a greater proportion of our aged people have to work at all?
    When I left school at 17, you could get on the dole no worries, no interviews, no means test. Women could get on the aged at 55.
    I mean who wants to see their mum still working into her 60s cleaning rooms or passing your groceries over the scanner?
    Not me for one. This country’s got it all backward. A quiet retirement at the end of one’s working life? Who gets that these days if you’re one of the many people in their 60s who failed to get on the property ladder. I mean these are the despised boomers, no? One or two of my grey haired mates have had to go to Centrelink when their zero hour casual jobs became too casual and their tales of obstruction, the lengths now pursued to deny claims, well I think the insurance industry could take up a few of their strategies.

    And don’t ask me how a single person, paying $200 pw rent, can survive on $250 pw or so from Newstart. It simply can’t be done unless you eat your own shit.

    Australians never used to worry too much about dole bludgers, or whether they spent their money on piss. We all had good jobs and far less worries about our futures, indeed much care at all about what was happening in the ROW. Asians were a very small minority and most of us got on with the wogs and worried not a bit about immigration.

    Another yesterday was better meme I guess

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Thanks Chris, not to mention that they paid taxes on the promise that part of that tax was for un means tested pension at 65. My mate turned 94 and still not on the pension.

      • Thanks Boom. Our federal taxes can be counted but are really just dollars which are removed from the stock of money in the system. Australian governments operate within a budget and spending system which stems from several Acts of Parliament. This set of legislation constrain our Government to a budget which is comprised only of tax receipted in the same period, and on the strict proviso that expenditure in excess will be funded from borrowings from the private sector.

        Nothing will be done to improve the lot of welfare recipients while our attitudes and values are being shaped by corporations and with our journalism (and citizens) suppressed by control and fear. And, while we continue to be told that the budget cannot support the many people, including children, which are struggling in our society. No one thinks about the children, many of them cold this winter…

        (Just watched the Hack (Netflix) about Cambridge Analytica – in their own words, the data they had sourced from Facebook and many other corporations on us, was effectively weapons-grade as it allowed them to identify and to change the minds of the small percentage of the population which is ‘persuadable’. Very convincing argument that they got Brexit and Trump over the line through targeted messaging that the rest of us never saw… Get it on Foxtel now, desperation times for their business model….)

    • Don’t let Frydenbeg and co hear about this “eating your own sh1t” concept that you’ve developed. They’ll claim it as their own and have it as policy before you can say “firm or runny”?

    • People have a much higher standard of living compared to prior older generations, unfortunately the pension hasn’t been increased to cater for this higher standard so this is why many people at retirement age need to go back to work to cover their living expenses.

      People could downsize, travel less, don’t go out to dinner etc, plant a veggie patch etc. This is stuff my old grandparents did, basically a very simple life which a pension can just sustain.

      • Jumping jack flash

        correct, it is possible but without the trimmings and trappings.

        My parents live quite comfortably on the pension. Never had it better actually.
        They also have a nice new house they pretty much built themselves on the city outskirts a few years ago.

        Its not impossible at all, but expectations need to be lowered.
        However, my parents’ quality of life is +1000% from when I was a kid living at home and we all lived next door to a commune out the back of nowhere with no electricity or running hot water.

        The point is that its all relative.

        Old people these days have it too good, loaded up on other people’s debt, so the step down to the pension is too great.
        Once again, the debt is to blame.
        It is obviously the debt because the only thing that has changed dramatically between then and now is the fact that we are all completely and hopelessly in debt, with amounts of debt that are simply ridiculously huge and that should never be held by a person of sound mind. Where did the debt go? Oh.. to the old people selling up their assets.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Too much of a debt hangover and not enough super at that age?
      Perhaps an unwillingness to sell everything and move overseas or become a grey nomad?
      Perhaps they just enjoy their work? I’m pretty sure when I’m 60 I’ll still be loving doing the work I currently do.
      There’s multiple reasons why people still need/want to work into their 60s.

      Sure, checkout chicks and cleaners and concreters and all of that will probably not want to work for that long because its just too taxing.

      “Australians never used to worry too much about dole bludgers, or whether they spent their money on piss. We all had good jobs and far less worries about our futures, indeed much care at all about what was happening in the ROW. Asians were a very small minority and most of us got on with the wogs and worried not a bit about immigration”

      This +100

      Most of this can be traced back to the debt. Huge amounts of debt that are now required to be taken on have a disastrous effect on social cohesion. Charity dries up as a result. Everyone gets very, very grabby. Scammers start up and this creates distrust. Litigation/compensation becomes one of a few ways a lot of people can get enough money together to obtain the necessary debt which makes everyone super-cautious, or not at all.

      Its all decades in the making, bit by bit, and it becomes far too hard to unwind once it becomes the norm.

  3. Hasn’t Japan had almost no growth, one of the oldest populations on Earth but basically full employment for 30 years? The cult of Multiculturalism has done so much damage to the fabric of our so iety.

  4. If you have a go, you get a go
    How good are jobs!

    These elderly leaners just need to have a go and stop bludging on the dole. The are 17k a week flooring apprenticeship jobs going begging, time to start lifting.

    There are growers that can’t get pickers in regional areas so they just need to move where the good jobs are, simple.

    How good is Straya!

    • We are doomed, with clowns like her roaming around. Zero self-awareness whatsoever — but I bet she has dibs on her own intellect.

    • For some of us, those early battles in our working lives have scarred us.
      Everyone has problems darling, it’s not just aging feminists.

      We’ve all got a story to tell of an employer who tried to make our lives even harder than they were.
      Most men can tell similar stories too. These days more and more stories involve female employers.

      But we are the first sandwich generation, responsible for bringing up children and caring for parents
      What nonsense. Previous generations also had children to bring up, and parents who grew old.

      the first women to deal with careers in our 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
      That’s what the feminists demanded. They blamed men for denying it to previous generations of women. You’ve finally got what you wanted darling.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Exactly Claw: So Femanists have broken down the glass ceiling – good for them, and good for Gemma.

        Now the 30% of women are more interest in “things” over “people” must be very happy with their careers. But I wonder how the other 60 – 70% of women, who are now compelled by societies “Two Income Trap” feel about having to work through to their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s?

        Too bad for them, especially if their goal in life was to have a family – suckers, your sisters liberated you from those dreams!

        Speaking of feminism and dreams, it is quite ironic how the dating app and sexual freedom without consequence is starting to play out over the long term in the west… what was that rule – 20:80, where 20% of the guys get 80% of the women.

        The greatest irony is that Feminism is actually helping to re-establish the alpha male patriarchy, filled with blokes getting plenty, a marginally satisfied of group of women and a lot of unhappy, discontent blokes. Social stability is going to be a hoot in the future, what with discontent males from multiple cultures, jostling with each other and their various groups, to compete for mates…. have you ever seen bulls in a paddock with too few cows?

        “Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was.”

      • What gets me is that the feminists thought the previous generations of males just had it easy. They didn’t realise what most of these men missed out – time with their families – this is why the mother is the preferred parent.

        Now they are starting to realise what men gave up for this abstract nonsense that we call ‘careers’.

      • AUS government film in 1966 said being a housewife is acceptable:

        4 m 56 s


        But then the propaganda machine started saying “being a housewife is the worst thing ever”. In 2010, Tony Abbott was attacked for saying that housewives exist.

        Thankfully, some women are talking sense again:

        Australia Needs A Universal Basic Income, And We Should Start With Mothers

    • She seems to be complaining because women are now in the same boat as blokes. Working more than they want to, working into old age, being exploited by avaricious employers etc…

  5. Everyday I see vibrants having their social rating lowered by Melbourne Tram Myki Inspectors. Today it was young Chinese female putting on the waterworks. Go long Myki Inspectors!

    • The worst are the ones that get on a Melbourne train from a non-turnstyle suburban station and get out at another non-turnstyle station. If they regularly do this, even if they get a fine occassionally, they are still ahead. Vibrants love this option – they can also do the ‘I not understand’.

    • Take a look at the Myki automatic top-up advertising – all models used are vibrants.

      No excuses vibrants, there is automatic top-ups – points to automatic top-up adverts.

  6. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Jemma needs to go pick fruit somewhere…or maybe head to Warrnambool. Apparently there’s a thousand jobs there. Sky said so.

    Oops…up there…👆👆

  7. Long-term Australians and Australians-by-birth should have the choice to work beyond 67 if they wish (for a variety of reasons); and not have to give up their spot for a new Australian (including those that come in at a middle-age to then get a pension 17 years later).