RBA wants to crush wages with mass immigration

I reported on Monday how Stephen Kirchner – Program director for the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney – has urged the Australian Government to open the immigration floodgates to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

After reading Kirchner’s full report yesterday, I was gobsmacked by the falsehoods put forward regarding Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program, which Kirchner wants the government to uncap:

Australia will experience a permanent loss of population and productive potential because the government assumes no future make-up of lost NOM, but this is a policy choice that could be offset with a more liberal approach to immigration in the future.
Restoring and then exceeding pre-pandemic levels of NOM will be essential to economic recovery…

The pandemic affords an opportunity to rethink the immigration policy and planning framework. The government’s pre-pandemic reduction in the planning cap on permanent migration from 190,000 per annum to 160,000 should be set aside indefinitely as non-binding in the short run and too restrictive in the long run…

The government should link immigration and population growth to both pandemic recovery and national security imperatives to increase public support against a backdrop of elevated unemployment…

Australia is likely to face growing skills shortages amid increased international competition for skilled workers. Like the temporary migration program, the skills-based permanent migration program should be uncapped for those meeting its eligibility criteria, with market-determined wages and labour demand then regulating net migration flows…

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia normally receive around 70 per cent of high-skilled migrants to the OECD, with the United States taking close to a half share for the OECD and one-third of high skilled migrants globally. With the United States closing its doors and Australia potentially a close substitute for the United States for prospective migrants along many dimensions, a more liberal approach to immigration in Australia could be expected to attract immigrants either rejected or deterred from the United States…

The aftermath of the pandemic affords an opportunity to experiment with uncapping the permanent skilled and family-based migration programs to support the recovery in NOM. The skilled occupations list and other criteria for permanent migration visas could be maintained, but without quantitative limits on visa numbers. Qualitative criteria could also be relaxed while NOM is below pre-pandemic levels. The current skills classifications need to be updated and broadened in any event…

In the long run, the government should allow the size of the permanent migration program to self-regulate based on current and prospective labour demand and the level of wages in the targeted skill and occupational categories. Rising wages due to shortages in segments of the labour market will attract, while falling wages reflecting excess supply will deter prospective immigrants, although the absolute level of wages relative to overseas may dominate wages growth in attracting prospective migrants.

The market is more likely to send the right signals about prospective shortages or a surplus of skilled workers. The temporary migration program already operates on this basis, albeit with a floor on wage rates. Qualitative criteria would still serve to limit overall migrant numbers, but without arbitrary caps.

Following recovery from the pandemic, Australia is likely to face skills shortages amid growing international competition for skilled workers…

Experience with Australia’s uncapped Temporary Work Skilled Visa program shows that skilled migration increases the wages of native workers and induces native workers to specialise in occupations with a high intensity of communication and cognitive skills. Uptake of the visas correlates with economic activity, with visa numbers self-regulating based on economic conditions. It should be noted that firms are required to pay foreign workers a minimum salary equal to at least that of comparable native workers.

Sadly, RBA Governor Phil Lowe spouted the same propaganda yesterday, while also shedding crocodile tears over poor wage growth and high unemployment:

Australia needs an influx of skilled migrant workers to get the economy powering again after the coronavirus pandemic, the Reserve Bank says.

Speaking at a forum on Monday night, RBA governor Philip Lowe said Australia would have to look offshore to fill jobs due to the major slump in domestic population growth caused by hard international border closures, which could stay until at least the end of 2021…

“The fast population growth of recent decades has been a major factor shaping our economy,” Dr Lowe said in his speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

“It has underpinned our relatively fast growth in GDP (gross domestic product) compared with other advanced economies”…

Dr Lowe said wage growth and price pressures would remain subdued while unemployment was above 6 per cent.

“It does, though, seem highly probable that one of the marks the pandemic will leave is an extended period of higher unemployment than we have become used to. Addressing this is an important national priority,” Dr Lowe said.

Clearly, neither Kirchner nor Lowe have bothered to examine the actual empirical data on Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program contained in the Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Migrants. This report shows unambiguously that Australia’s purported skilled migration system is actually a low-skilled, low-wage visa scheme used by employers to undercut local workers:

As shown above, migrants have significantly worse labour market outcomes than the general population. Specifically:

  • The median annual full-time earnings of migrants was $16,500 (22%) below the general population in 2017;
  • The median annual earnings of migrants was $5,900 (10.2%) below the general population in 2017; and
  • The unemployment rate of surveyed migrants (12.6%) was more than double the general population (5.5%) in 2017.

Even if we focus on the skilled stream only, both median earnings and unemployment is far worse than the general population:

These are shocking results. The skilled stream accounts for 60% of Australia’s permanent migration program. They are purported to be highly qualified and brought into Australia to overcome so-called ‘skills shortages’.

These ‘skilled’ migrants should, therefore, be paid well above the general population, which comprises both skilled and unskilled workers, as well as have very low unemployment.

The fact that ‘skilled’ migrants are paid less, and suffer higher unemployment, is a damning indictment of Australia’s purported ‘skilled’ immigration system, and is bonafide proof that it is undercutting local workers.

Australia’s ‘skilled’ temporary visa system is equally bad.

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has been set at an abysmally low $53,900, which is well below the median Australian wage of $1,100 per week ($57,200 p.a.), according to the ABS:

This TSMIT wage floor was $3,300 (6%) below the median income of all Australians ($57,200) in August 2019, which includes unskilled workers.

Thus, the TSMIT has also incentivised employers to hire cheap migrants instead of local workers, as well as abrogated the need to provide training.

Like in Australia, the Economic Policy Institute revealed systemic rorting of the US’ temporary skilled H1-B visa, and recommended significantly lifting the wage floor pertaining to these visas:

The highest priority for H-1B reform is fixing the prevailing wage rule. The new wage-level data presented in this report make clear that most companies that use the H-1B program—but especially the biggest users, by nature of the sheer volume of workers they employ—are exploiting a flawed H-1B prevailing wage rule to underpay their H-1B workers relative to market wage standards…

The data in this report show the top 30 H-1B employers are in fact hiring H-1B workers to fill a very large number of routine (Levels 1 and 2) positions that require relatively little experience and ordinary skills… employers have all but disinvested in workforce training, in part because of the disincentives created by ready access to lower-paid H-1B workers…

The data presented in this report indicate that all H-1B employers, but especially the largest employers, use the H-1B program either to hire relatively lower-wage workers (relative to the wages paid to other workers in their occupation) who possess ordinary skills or to hire skilled workers and pay them less than the true market value of their work. Either possibility raises important policy questions about the use and allocation of H-1B visas.

By setting two of the H-1B prevailing wage levels so low relative to the median and not requiring that firms pay at least market wages to H-1B workers, DOL incentivizes firms to earn extraordinary profits by legally hiring much-lower-paid H-1B workers instead of workers earning the local median wage…

DOL should promulgate regulations and/or issue administrative guidance that sets the lowest (Level 1) wage to the 75th percentile for the occupation and local area, and requires that wage offers to H-1B workers never be lower than the national median wage for the occupation. Requiring and enforcing above-median wages for H-1B workers would disincentivize the hiring of H-1B workers as a money-saving exercise, ensuring that companies will use the program as intended—to bring in workers who have special skills—instead of using H-1B as a way to cheaply fill entry-level positions.

Rather than giving Australian businesses unfettered access to ‘skilled visas’ and crushing wages, all skilled migrants (both temporary and permanent) should instead be required to be employer-sponsored (given their far better employment outcomes – see above charts) and paid at least at the 75th percentile of earnings.

This would ensure that the skilled visa scheme is used sparingly by businesses to employ only highly skilled migrants with specialised skills, not abused by businesses as a tool for undercutting local workers and eliminating the need for training.

More broadly, returning to pre-COVID levels of immigration (or higher) would be detrimental to Australia’s productivity and living standards.

Allowing Australian firms to grab cheaper migrants instead of paying higher wages to local workers will necessarily discourage these firms from innovating and adopting labour saving technologies, which would boost the economy’s overall productivity. It would also prevent creative destruction by enabling low productivity firms to remain in business.

By contrast, stemming the flow of low-wage migrants would force the least productive firms to contract and go bust, transferring workers, land and capital to more productive businesses. In turn, this would raise average productivity across the Australian economy.  Moreover, all firms, observing higher wages, would invest more in labour saving technologies and restructure to lift productivity.

There is a reason why construction firms, farms and manufacturers in advanced nations usually involve a handful of workers operating heavy machinery, whereas in low-wage developing countries these are manned by many workers doing manual labour. The higher cost of labour in advanced countries forces these firms to invest in labour saving machinery, which lifts overall productivity.

Returning to mass immigration would also worsen Australia’s chronic infrastructure bottlenecks and congestion, further lowering productivity. And it would worsen Australia’s current account, since Australia would import far more and the nation’s immense mineral wealth (and primary exports) would be diluted among more people.

On the last point – the current account – notice below how Australia’s two biggest migrant magnets of Sydney an Melbourne drove gigantic trade deficits during the prior 15 years of high immigration?

This is not a coincidence.

Essentially, all of the extra migrants that piled into these two cities over the past 15 years barely lifted exports, since these cities don’t actually produce much that is tradeable. By contrast, imports skyrocketed via more purchases of consumer goods like flat screen TVs, cars, furniture, etc. These net imports must be paid for, either by increasing the nation’s debt or by selling-off the nation’s assets. Australia has been doing both.

The fact is, running a mass immigration policy promotes ‘dumb’ growth, concentrated in urbanisation and household debt, and associated sectors benefit (think Big Property, Big Retail and banking). It reduces liveability as it crush-loads infrastructure and benefits a small number of elites over the many, thereby increasing inequality.

In short, following Kirchner’s and Lowe’s prescription of mass immigration will stifle Australia’s productivity, worsen the unemployment queues and further depress wages, smashing Australia’s working class.

The mass immigration policy needs to be junked for the sake of productivity, liveability and equality. Instead, policies that focus on productivity enhancement and competitiveness should be the focus as they lower debt while boosting incomes per capita, and are more meritocratic.

On this front, Australia’s policy makers should follow the lead of the Nordic countries – Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. They are renowned as being among the wealthiest, happiest, best functioning nations in the world with the highest living standards. They also achieved this success without mass immigration-driven population growth:

The world has 7.6 billion people. Australia doesn’t need to import them to sell to them. This is not what clever countries do.

It’s time Australia’s economics fraternity acknowledged these facts.

Unconventional Economist
Latest posts by Unconventional Economist (see all)


  1. So its not enough that my taxes are being used to keep me out of a job.
    Now the thieving government stooges brigade want to get in on the act.
    Seriously enough is enough. The entire system needs to be burnt to the ground.
    Get rid of the left losers and the right ratbags. Where can i find a politician to vote for that will actually do the right thing.

    But im willing to agree to a trade off.
    I will vote for increased immigration if this is the source,
    instead of the 3rd world p*ss holes we currently use.

    • Almost the entire academic establishment is cut from the same cloth. They are meant to be among our brightest and yet they think and behave like sheep.

      At the end of the day, however, they are rabid statists, whose livelihoods rely almost entirely on the milk that flows from the taxpayer teat, so I guess we should not be surprised that they stand with gubmint on policy du jour.

      • pfh007.comMEMBER

        Yep, the most reliable sign of a rabid statist is a deep love of central bank lever yanking and acronyms like QE, ZIRP, NIRP, MMT, etc.

        • I’m not sure I’d describe an individual pushing mass net immigration as a rabid statist.

          More likely one who believes in ‘trickle down’ theory and Thatcher’s ‘no such thing as a society’ line.

    • That’s right, heaven forbid that endless monetary policy doesn’t get funnelled directly into asset inflation for the wealthy.

  2. I assume if Mr Kirchner called for immigration to be significantly reduced, the establishment would point out the obvious. That Mr Kirchner belongs to an outfit called the United States Study Centre. And therefore matters of Australian domestic policy clearly do not fall within his expertise or his remit. But as he is saying what the establishment want, the fact he is an expert on US and not Australian matters is conveniently put to one side. Maybe Kirchner can catch up with Shane Wright for lunch sometime and they can compare notes as to who wants the most people for Australia. My money is still on Shane Wright but Kirchner is a novel entrant to the field, he may surprise. Obviously with US news being so boring lately, Kirchner has had to switch to Australian domestic policy to find an outlet for his undoubtedly great talents

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      1 Didn’t realise Shane Wright (SMH?) was a population ponzi freak – quite liked some of his articles but maybe I will have to take a very jaundiced view of his work now onwards or even give it a miss?

      • Shane has ability but he also has an employer to please, a pro population growth employer.I remember at the start of the pandemic when Frydenberg appeared at the National Press Club speaking on the emergency economic measures. Shane was one of the first questioners asking what incentives the govt would be employing to boost immigration as soon as it was practicable. A few hours later the PM gave a press conference and there was Shane’s colleague David Crowe asking the same question. Channel Nine Newspapers, your friendly rampant population growth outlet. Pleasingly in the Murdoch press, I have read pieces by Judith Sloan and Terry McCrann questioning our two decade path of high population growth

        • happy valleyMEMBER

          Yeah, I have read some of McCrann’s “conversion” stuff, but he is on borrowed time for Rup – so, possibly doing some soul cleansing now? Sloan’s stuff I’ve never liked (it seemed pretty far right wing?) and apparently she was getting paid a lot to be a columnist for Rup, so I always thought that she would blow with the wind a bit?

          I guess Wright and Crowe positions understandable as they do work for an LNP shop, just as Hartcher can waver from time to time.

          • Oh well, when it comes to population policy in the sponsored media, I will take what I can get. The ABC is not sponsored, it’s funded, but the same outcomes obtain, the funders and sponsors are of one mind

  3. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Just Open faced obfuscation and lying as public policy analysis from that cnt Kirchner.

    “In the long run, the government should allow the size of the permanent migration program to self-regulate based on current and prospective labour demand and the level of wages in the targeted skill and occupational categories. Rising wages due to shortages in segments of the labour market will attract, while falling wages reflecting excess supply will deter prospective immigrants, although the absolute level of wages relative to overseas may dominate wages growth in attracting prospective migrants.”

    Notice the certainty of his “positive” assertions in comparison to negative aspects only receiving a “may”.

    “although the absolute level of wages relative to overseas MAY dominate wages growth in attracting prospective migrants.”

    That “may” is Clearly a “will” and he knows it.
    It negates all the other BS he has said but his sycophantic, ar$e licking, shilling for the big Australia lobby won’t see him ever admit it.

    • Yep = that only works for passports of a similar background to Australia … which is not many (pros and cons but not many similar).

      Anyone from a Sh8thole will choose Australia every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  4. And new Treasury chief Steven Kennedy used his first public speech to spruik the “dynamism” of mass migration. Everything becomes a lot clearer, once you accept that Treasury and RBA are implacable enemies of the people.

  5. Let’s have a look at the Kirchner logic…..

    Yesterdays piece in the Conversation will do for starters, presumably he has synthesised that from his report. (https://theconversation.com/the-us-has-turned-its-back-on-skilled-migrants-giving-australia-an-opening-150088)

    The US has turned its back on skilled migrants, giving Australia an opening
    Stephen Kirchner Program Director, Trade and Investment, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

    The outgoing Trump administration presided over one of the most dramatic tightenings in US immigration policy since the 1930s. Along with declining fertility, this saw US population growth fall to its lowest rate in a century, even before the onset of the pandemic.

    Compared to its peak in the 1990s, the contribution of net migration to growth in the US working age population fell by 60% between 2010 and 2018. While the incoming Biden Administration is expected to take a more relaxed approach, Trump’s legacy will be difficult to quickly or fully unwind.

    Well a nice big tee off, Trump has tightened immigration and population growth has slumped – a population growth chart to ice the cake. I assumed both to be the case. But I noted that he has pulled the old switch and bait in terms of leading off about the Donald the Departing slashing immigration, but providing a chart comparing US and Australian population growth (not immigration). And he has also shot his opening sentence blame apportionment toes off, by noting it has been in decline for yonks despite anything Trump may have (or not) done…….

    And then I went looking for a chart on immigration and US population growth and found some other charts

    Starting with this one from the Migration Policy Institute (https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/immigrant-population-over-time), which suggests immigration into the United States is motoring along just fine in an historical context……….

    It appears that up to late 2018, immigrants into the US were running at about 15% of total population, just under an all time high, and that at nearly 45 million immigrant in the US, that was for sure an all time high, and about 3 times the 1980 number.
    Just for anyone wondering about the immigrant percentage of Australia’s population……..The OECD has it about double the United States at a touch under 30% of our population.

    And then there was this one from the Brookings Institute (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/12/21/us-population-growth-hits-80-year-low-capping-off-a-year-of-demographic-stagnation/) showing that for the entire period since 2000 the natural increase in US population has been greater than their immigrant population.

    And then I thought it worth comparing the same chart for Australia from this blog (using ABS data) (http://demogblog.blogspot.com/2020/01/steady-population-growth-in-australia.html)

    And Lo and Behold it doesnt take Einstein to nut out that the reason Australia’s population growth has held up much better than the US is because we have been running immigration at nosebleed levels for about 15 years. Leith has posted countless charts pointing this out and I dare say everyone at MacroBusiness knows it inside out.

    And as a final piece of the entree it might also be worth noting that the US population growth rate has been on a long term glide downwards since the early 1990s – Trump might have slammed on the brakes, but he sure didn’t change the trajectory.

    So with that as the opening Gambit lets see where Stephen takes us next……….

    Coming to America

    The US has traditionally been the preferred destination for migrants. It normally gets close to half of the skilled migrants who come to OECD countries and around one third of skilled migrants globally. Combined, the English-speaking nations of the US, Canada, the UK and Australia typically capture around 70% of skilled migration flows.

    A pretty straight piece of reporting there. The US does take the vast bulk of global skilled migrants, and the UK, Canada, and ourselves limber up for the minor places…….but note how he deploys the word ‘capture’ to make it seem as though we are winning something.

    And then, just as we are settling for some thought about why the Anglophone world runs so long on immigration comes a sentence which the late E.P. Thompson would have referred to as a ‘Ritualised Form of Psychic Masturbation.’ . Sort of like bowling a couple of dot balls before trying a fast bouncer.

    Immigration has historically been a key source of US national power and a leading driver of innovation and entrepreneurship.

    No cause and effect, no inherent logic no data, no nothing. Not a skerrick of analysis. Just a straight out population Ponzi supporting assertion. It may well be true even. But what is he suggesting? Sucking the skills out of other nations is a useful national economy model? Immigrants get so desperate for the chance to sustain themselves they become innovators? Laundering corruption proceeds from elsewhere can be a handy source of seed funding? Is he setting off down the path of calling for the reintroduction of slavery?

    And then it was back to the plausibly straight reportage as though nothing has happened.

    Earlier this year, President Trump suspended new work visas, barring tens of thousands of foreign workers and their dependants from entering, and preventing US companies from hiring in two of the skilled visa categories.

    Yea verily, Trump has done all that.

    Then we have

    According to a Brookings Institution study, that single order wiped US$100 billion from the market value of US firms, highlighting the extent to which they rely on skilled foreign workers.

    Previous studies have found that the arbitrary cap on skilled visas (which was 190,000 and had tightened to 65,000) only served to increase offshoring as US firms hired foreign contractors rather than bringing them on shore.

    The work visas executive order was just one of around 400 Trump used to tighten immigration policy.

    That Brooking Institute working paper did come up with that result – https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Executive-order-worth-100-billion.pdf – but it was hardly looking at national economic benefit, and was in a pretty nerdish kind of way purely looking at the ‘valuation’ of Fortune 500 companies (worth Trillions) and the ‘Market’ variation in their stocks on a day to day basis following Trumps June H1-B announcement. Worth asking about the impact of Trump timing his announcements with Jerome Powell’s quantitative easing announcements……….

    Britta Glennon’s far better NBER research paper, to which Kirchner also refers, also is fairly nerdy, and the first of its type in the field as she openly acknowledges – looking at the behaviour of multinational firms https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w27538/w27538.pdf and concluding that these will outsource work to offshore affiliates & foreign firms

    Going to Australia?

    Australia is potentially a close substitute for the US on the part of prospective migrants. It typically ranks just below the US, Canada and Germany as their preferred destination.

    Trump’s actions give Australia the opportunity to capture some of the global talent that would have normally gone the US but has been increasingly turned away by its increasingly restrictive approach.

    Australia’s international arrivals are currently capped by limited isolation and quarantine capacity.

    Even Australian citizens are finding it difficulty to return.

    The government is assuming that Australia will suffer net outflows in 2020-21 and 2021-22, the first time net overseas migration has turned negative since 1946.

    Including births and deaths, total population growth is expected to fall to just 0.2% in 2020-21, the lowest since the first world war.

    Another big serve of straight reportage, but if you look at the chart he provides it is of ‘potential migrants’ desired homes – and again says nothing about the benefits of that migration for the national economic benefit of the ‘desired home’. Think of it as a few more dot balls before being given another serve of something ripe…….

    Perhaps more disturbingly, the Australian government is assuming no future adjustments to make up for the losses — neither a return to the previous levels of net overseas migration over the projection period, “due to economic uncertainty and softer labour market conditions” nor accelerated migration beyond that to get back what was lost.

    Australia will be left with less population and productive potential than it would have had there been no pandemic. But it needn’t.

    There you have it. Kirchner is not only not mentioning the population Ponzi we have been running for 15 years which has creamed per capita earnings, added to congestion in large cities and underpinned inflated real estate prices – all for no extra benefit in a nation which has offshored its globally exposed sectors and relies solely on resources leveraged into housing speculation as an economic underpinning.

    He thinks we should be also taking in extra to cover for the people who havent migrated in this year.

    No mention that no other nations are also not taking migrants this year, or that our economy has been found face down in the pool this year and is currently relying on JobKeeper and the suspension of solvency laws to maintain the appearance of health.

    Just the implication that we should add maybe another 250 thousand immigrants to next years recruitment to offset those we haven’t taken during the COVID19 pandemic.

    Good one.

    Ramp up capacity, change policy

    In my new United States Studies Centre report released this morning, I argue Australia can get back what it has lost, in part by taking migrants the US won’t.

    The government’s immediate priority should be to fund an increase in managed isolation and quarantine capacity to ramp up our ability to take in migrants.
    In the long-term, it should set aside its current annual cap of 160,000 on permanent migration.

    Well on the upside at least down here he is being open about it……If he had lead with this the number of readers would probably have halved.

    The cap won’t matter much for the next few years because it is unlikely to be filled, but it will in future years, denying Australia the ability to get back what it has lost.

    As Australia’s economy recovers, skilled workers are going to become scarce.
    Experience with Australia’s uncapped temporary skilled visa program shows skilled migration increases the wages of local workers and induces them to specialise in occupations requiring communication and cognitive skills.

    Employers are required to pay foreign workers a minimum salary equal to at least that of comparable local workers.

    Chortle chortle chortle. No mention of the scope for using those few years to get into training our own younger set to take on those needed skills.

    No mention of the fact that Australias migration programme tends to see large numbers of very skilled foreign migrants essentially delivering pizzas on casual rates either.

    No mention that Australias economic substance essentially revolves around redistributing the skimming of proceeds from resources exports – mainly iron ore, gas, and coal – in the context of two of those exports increasingly being seen as toxic by the rest of the world, and the other dependent on a single buyer with whom we have ‘strategic tensions’.

    No mention of the government continuing to drive jobs offshore by signing up to sight unseen (for the public) Free Trade Agreements

    And no mention of the fact that all businesses in Australia are currently wards of the state, and that if taxpayers are funding the livelihoods of people then maybe they should limit it to those people who are citizens of the same nation.

    But a spurious claim about the impacts of temporary skilled visa immigration on the incomes of locals – in the face of plenty of data supporting the idea that the population ponzi has flattened incomes for a decade or more…..

    Hong Kong is shaping up to be a good source of skilled foreign workers. The Australian government has already relaxed visa arrangements for Hong Kong but mainly for temporary migrants.

    Australia faces competition. Canada is looking to take up to one million skilled migrants through to 2022 — about 350,000 per year.

    Then back for a few dot balls to close out the innings.

    Hong Kong would no doubt be a good source of migrants at the moment, but even here he makes no mention of the possibility that taking them should they become refugees and flee the National government cracking down upon them, may upset – more than already – the largest single buyer of Australian commodities….and thus kneeing national income in the nuts.

    Finally the suggestion that we are somehow ‘competing’ with Canada (or anywhere else) . That may be in the case of the minds of a small minority of (academics?) people, but will hardly be the concern of the vast bulk of Australians funding taxes going towards JobKeeper or made precarious due to the impact of COVID19 following on from a decade of niggardly wages growth.

    ……Thanks Stephen…but no thanks.

    • chuckmuscleMEMBER

      Loved this claim:
      “Experience with Australia’s uncapped temporary skilled visa program shows skilled migration increases the wages of local workers and induces them to specialise in occupations requiring communication and cognitive skills.”

      With no supporting evidence offered at all. Whenever people make “obvious” claims such as this, you’d think there is a deep body of literature on the subject, relevant to current levels of industrialisation and globalisation, but there are scant amounts if any (that I could find)

    • It is even worse than this -the mass immigration ponzi has smashed wages and opportunities for the lower income cohort and impoverished them. The state response is to now tax the bejesus out of the entrepreneurial class and redistribute funds for example via social housing =$5.3 bill announced by Andrews and energy subsidies announced by Andrews. This is amazing stuff all financed by WA iron ore and gas which is now poison and Qld coal which is now poison to the wokes. The RBA and Treasury do not understand the economy!!

    • Excellent post. It is telling that the Conversation would not allow comments on this piece — because they know what people are likely to say. They ought to change the name of their website to Propaganda.

      • Did you see comments on Shane Wrights piece yesterday. Universally against immigration. Well one guy was in support, someone replied ‘read the room’

  6. Mining BoganMEMBER

    I have a question. How do these journos keep on finding poor hard-working migrants in some foreign backwater who have been dudded by Australia’s nasty immigration system?


    Every story there’s at least one who is being stopped from applying themself for the greater good. Our journos can find one poor soul lost among billions yet can’t see the giant elephant called Corruption in our governments and businesses.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      They all live in fear of damaging their Careers.
      Not submitting to prefered establishment narratives is a real career stopper.
      The threat for them is real.
      They get to pretend to play at delivering a Left/Right dichotomy but the economic preferences of power is never challenged.
      Concentrated media ownership makes any kind of real democracy a near impossibility.

      • It is true. Questioning high levels of immigration is tantamount to the 2nd coming of Adolf and a one way ticket to the dole. Incredible how much control the establishment and their faithful lapdogs in the media have over our lives. We really don’t live in a free society after all.

        • The plutocracy is real right. The proles of Australia are only going to be in for a harder and harder slog over the coming decades.

  7. happy valleyMEMBER

    “It does, though, seem highly probable that one of the marks the pandemic will leave is an extended period of higher unemployment than we have become used to. Addressing this is an important national priority,” Dr Lowe said.”

    And flooding Straya with more foreign warm bodies will fix unemployment? Pfft. RBA happy clappies – tell the truth. You just want to goose property prices.

  8. And they’ve turned comments off on the article on the conversation before it’s even got going.

    Academic rigour my foot.

    • I reckon, ivory tower stuff. The sovereign levers need to be yanked away from them and they can stay there.

  9. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Wages are too high in this country and need to be crushed substantially so that we can be competitive. The only way we are able to achieve even a slight working poor like America is by importing new human capital as they will work hard and not whinge too much as they know they risk being sent home.

  10. working class hamMEMBER

    Do they actually believe the BS they are shovelling?
    The arguments are so weak for their views, a 12yr old would be able to see the flaws.

    • Over 80% of Australians don’t want immigration. We get it, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

      UNLESS we get coordinated.

        • We still live in a nominal democracy. Why not just put the neoliberal/Big Australia parties and candidates last, particularly if they have a significant chance of winning? Put the sitting member last of all. If enough of us do it in marginal seats, the government will change hands at every election. Our elite will then have to decide whether to blink, as the US elite did after World War I.


          Our oligarchs’ only other choice would be to suspend even the pretense of democracy.

          • That’s fine, but correct me if I’m wrong: it’s the fact that preferences flow straight back to the big parties that ruins this as a strategy.

        • You can exhaust your preferences for the Senate, since you just have to number 6 boxes above the line or 12 below. I number them all above the line, though. and put whichever party is in government last. You do have to number all the boxes for the federal lower house, so the preferences are likely to eventually reach one of the major parties, but putting the sitting member last, especially in a marginal seat, has the potential to disrupt the major parties, because government will change hands if enough people do it. The major parties were terrified when *the leader of the party that cannot be named* was telling her supporters to do this. It tears up the networks of patronage, because a candidate cannot be promised re-election and advancement, no matter how much money he or she gets from the donors.

    • Probably why The Conversation blocked all comments on his article after 2 critical ones. I had 20 posts deleted on other thread on an immigration related topic but I have never seen them block all comments. Guess who the editor is on the Business and Economy section – Peter Martin.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Does Peter Martin have a Twitter page?
        I’d like to post this MB article to him and ask his opinion on it.
        We all should.

        • I emailed him via The Conversation (contact the editor). Actually he replied. He said comments were closed due the ‘typically poor standard’ for immigration related topics. I pointed out that the article itself was ‘poor standard’ and used some of the arguments outlined here as well as a link to the previous MB artcle on Dr Kirchner’s work, but I have yet to get a reply.

          • By ‘typically poor standard’ he means wrongthink. And with all their gaslighting the media wonders why they are so currently despised.

  11. Hmmm the age old and still unanswered question
    Do wages increase because labour is scarce?
    Or do wages increase because labour leverages labour to create a work environment where 1 plus 1 is far greater than 2 (labour productivity enables wage increases)
    I’ve always dreamed on an Australia where the capability of our labour force enabled all of us to live like Princes.
    My mother (a country girl) on the other hand was very much of the opinion that jobs were something scarce, they created elsewhere but shared locally. The locals were fierce protectors of any jobs created within their physical domain, those jobs belonged to locals.
    Needless to say, I never enjoyed a conversation with Mum about the role of labour that didn’t end in a protracted argument.

  12. Speaking of immigration, heard on the radio yesterday that 60 international students are flying into Darwin at the end of the month, with CDU paying their quarantine costs. So it begins…..

  13. The RBA has spent the last twenty years lowering wages and inflating house prices. It is an institution that had been completely captured.

  14. Australians need a voice.

    Over 80% of us don’t want mass immigration. MSM, big business, LNP and Labor do want mass immigration.

    How do we get a voice? The opportunity to vote on this? That’s what over 80% of us should be concentrating on.

    It is astonishing and alarming this is the situation.

      • I agree, the population researchers TAPRI recently released a poll which said over 70 per cent of people wanted Australia to stabilise its population. Only the Herald Sun I know of gave it any publicity. Nine newspapers and the ABC were silent. I vote for Sustainable Australia Party, but like TAPRI, they get no media coverage for the population stabilisation views


  15. Dear RBA,
    No one I know wants the borders reopened. Why? We’re all sick of mass migration and have enjoyed not having to deal with congestion during Covid lockdowns, plus people hope that certain types of inflation will slow down and that they and their kids might have a better chance of being employed at the rubbish wage rates in this country. Even the friend who taught English to foreign students before they went to uni wants the borders to remain shut. She’s lost her job but she hates the unis, including the one that employed her before she lost her job, and that still employs her husband under certain to burnout conditions. She wants them to burn in hell for the way in which they have destroyed pedagogical standards and ripped off foreign and local students. Her husband, a world renowned scientist in his field can no longer recommend Australian kids study at Australian universities for the majority of courses due to the corruption of theuniversities. So RBA I politely suggest you shut up and don’t contribute to the problem as it’s obvious you don’t want try and fix it. You have no respect in thecommunity and we’re not listening to you.

  16. Aussie1929MEMBER

    What would you say If I told you that mass immigration is racist? Why? Taking skilled workers from developing nations slows their development and takes away much needed skills they need to develop which keeps them poorer. Its like a sign of superiority by the elite of the West, sickening.

    • …”Yes, but you’re giving the people who come the opportunity”….

      Wokeism was invented to twist logic into a pretzel, and convince our kids to hand their country to the elites.

      The most successful scam in history.

      • No totes, Westminster “democracy” was the greatest scam ever, and it still keeps on giving hundreds of years later.

    • It’s even worse than that. High immigration is unashamedly about getting poor people to do the really tough jobs for very low pay (toilet cleaning, fruit picking, meat works etc). Surely it would be much better if we all contributed as a society and made all jobs that contribute to society reasonably remunerated and supported.

      There is a good case that toilet cleaners etc should earn significantly more than opinionated activist academics who serve almost to perfection the property lobby.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      This is why we should focus on importing human capital from wh1te countries only so as to not be racialists (and only the wh1te people from those countries too).

  17. Kirchner et al. are the smoking burning despoiling machines of the old economics, crushing all before their path with endless growth.
    The fouled and polluted remains of beautiful ecosystems lie behind the unstoppable automatons of destruction that smother all before and spit out massive property gains for the plutocracy.

  18. Every time the RBA cuts interest rates and creates collateral to keep borrowing costs down it effectively crushes wages by reducing those wage’s purchasing power relative to shelter which is usually the single largest purchase a person or family makes.

  19. Crushing wages isn’t going to anything for inflation. Just goes to show that the only aim really is to keep demand for property up. Because the people who don’t own property are politically insignificant. For now.

    • The people who don’t own property need to keep taking one for the team for the benefit of those that do. Those that don’t own property are stupid and silly for not buying a firetrap dogbox future projected completion, there’s an oversupply of them don’t you know and they have never been more affordable and reasonably priced.

      • “never been more affordable and reasonably priced”. Which is code for “it’s never been easier to get a massive loan for”. Hey, don’t worry people, interest rates have always dropped throughout the lifetime of the loan. Oh wait…

  20. So many comments yet nobody has touched on the idea that neither political party has any interest (what so ever) in average Aussies developing highly valued and globally marketable skills.
    Think about it, could wages be so easily contained if your average Aussies had better options available to them?
    Would house prices be so astronomical in Sydney and Melb if these cities weren’t our only work Mecca’s. Imagine our cities were just places to live but our jobs could be done anywhere in the world (I can think of a lot nicer places to live in NSW than somewhere west of Liverpool)
    Both political parties want their slaves and our education system is structured to provide just this and suppress any greedy plans the plebs have for wage raises by saturating the place with low skilled immigrants.
    Personally I see this as challenge and I make sure that my kids are not short changed on education.
    As for which of the parties rules, well frankly I couldn’t give a rats, they’re both a wunch of bankers.

  21. I see a ‘skills shortage’; we need to introduce a skilled worker visa for journalists. Maybe we could hire some from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Belgium.. they could use their ‘skills’ to write about the benefits of the vibrancy they’ve been experiencing. I’m sure our native journalists wouldn’t mind a bit of labour competition like the rest of us?

    • Yep the RBA and universities including their cathedral media like the conversation need open borders for more vibrancy and diversity.