New regional visas have launched this week, giving migrants in more occupations a chance to stay in Australia…
Migrants need to commit to life in regional Australia for at least three years…
But if they can become part of a regional community, it opens to the door to permanent residency for overseas workers from a wider range of occupations than before — including real estate agents, call centre managers, actors, historians and even kennel hands…
Professor James Raymer argues she is an exception.
Migrants in a regional or remote area have a “very low chance” of staying in that area, he said, and this pattern has been “very consistent over time”.
Professor Raymer has led a team of Australian National University researchers to collect and refine almost 40 years of localised immigration data.
“Most migrants will leave [a region] within a five-year period — over half, if not 70 per cent — and if they’re going to stay in Australia they’re going to go to one of the big cities, probably Sydney or Melbourne,” he said.
“What we actually see in the data, the chances of them leaving remote and regional areas has been increasing for a lot of the newer migrant groups”…
There will likely be 25,000 regional visas granted during 2019-20, up by around 15,000 on 2018-19, mostly at the expense of independent points-based visas without geographic requirements.
Actual pay rates for ‘skilled’ workers are already below the general population.
According to the Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants, the median full-time salary 18 months after being granted a skilled visa was just $72,000 in 2016, below the population median of $72,900. This is shocking given the population median includes unskilled workers, which obviously drags the nation-wide median full-time salary down.
Therefore, adding a whole bunch of low-skilled professions to Australia’s skilled visa system, such as “real estate agents, call centre managers, actors, historians and even kennel hands”, is only going to push median pay rates down even further, undercutting locals and crushing overall wage growth.
Moreover, once these migrants gain permanent residency, most will head to Melbourne and Sydney, like they have always done, adding to already chronic population pressures.
Rather than creating policy gimmicks to distract voters’ concerns over excessive immigration, Australia’s skilled visa system needs a complete overhaul to ensure that it only brings in migrants to fill genuine skills shortages, and to maximise productivity benefits.
The easiest solution is to make all skilled migrants employer-sponsored and require them to be paid at the 80th percentile of earnings, or indexed to double the median wage. This would ensure that the skilled visa system is used sparingly to import only the ‘best of the best’, not as a general labour market scheme to undercut local workers.
Of course, our policy makers have no intention to actually fix the system. To them, mass immigration is a tool to juice headline growth and to feed the growth lobby both consumers and cheap foreign workers. The welfare of ordinary voters is ignored entirely.
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