Frydenberg primes for mass immigration

As we know, the Morrison Government is readying for a quick return of mass immigration at the earliest opportunity.

The Government’s Interim Report of the Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program recommended opening the migrant floodgates via:

  • Abolishing labour market testing requirements.
  • Lowering costs and speeding up approval times for importing foreign workers.
  • Expanding the skilled occupation list to include almost any role.
  • Providing all ‘skilled’ visa holders with a clear pathway for transition to permanent residency.
  • Granting ‘skilled’ visa holders priority access to flights and hotel quarantine ahead of stranded Australians.

In announcing the recommendations, Liberal MP Julian Leeser declared:

 “Right across the economy we are hearing that there are real issues in relation to businesses getting the skills that they need here in Australia. During the course of COVID, we’ve lost half a million temporary visa holders. Many of those people are skilled migrants. And they are skills that just don’t exist across Australia. We need to get them back to get Australian businesses moving again…”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has now entered the fold, also indicating that the government will quickly ramp-up immigration as soon as possible:

When international borders finally do open Mr Frydenberg said one of the biggest opportunities would be to attract the best and brightest from around the world to Australia.

“As the vaccine rolls out, borders will eventually open and when they do, Australia will be the destination of choice for people around the world”…

The notion that Australia’s migration program was ever ‘skilled’ is debunked by the empirical data from the Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants.  This survey shows that recent permanent migrants experienced higher rates of unemployment and are paid less than the general population:

Migrant employment outcomes in Australia

Permanent migrants are paid less than the general Australian population and experience higher rates of unemployment.

Of particular note:

  1. Median annual full-time earnings of migrants was $13,900 (18%) below the general population in 2018;
  2. Median annual earnings of migrants was $3,300 (6%) below the general population in 2018; and
  3. The unemployment rate of surveyed migrants (13.1%) was nearly triple the general population (5.0%) in 2018.

The outcomes are also poor when we compare the skilled stream against the general population. As shown below, the median full-time earnings of ‘skilled’ migrants ($73,000) was lower than the general population ($76,000) in 2018:

The median full-time earnings of ‘skilled’ permanent migrants is less than the general Australian population.

These ‘skilled’ permanent migrants also experienced higher unemployment (6.2%) than the general population (5.0%) in 2018:

Skilled permanent migrants suffer higher rates of unemployment than the general Australian population.

Remember, the general population includes unskilled workers, which necessarily drags the median earnings figure down and the unemployment rate up. So, for ‘skilled’ permanent migrants to paid less and suffer higher unemployment than the general population is a damning indictment on Australia’s immigration system.

A recent report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia also showed that nearly one quarter of Australia’s ‘skilled’ migrants are working in jobs below their qualification level, with many ‘skilled’ migrants driving taxis and Ubers:

Skilled migrants and underemployment

Skilled migrants are chronically underemployed.

Thus, this ‘skilled’ migration program is actually undercutting local workers and adding to Australia’s unemployment queue. As such, it helped drive Australian wage growth to record lows:

Australian wage growth

Australian wage growth is at historical low levels.

The Morrison Government’s plan to ramp-up immigration is an employers’ and capitalists’ dream, but represents an unmitigated disaster for working Australians who face the prospect of increased job competition from low-paid migrants, lower wages, as well as crush-loaded cities, infrastructure and housing.

Australians have already suffered a decade of stagnating real wage growth on the back of mass immigration, alongside declining amenity. The Morrison Government’s proposed immigration reforms would be a fatal final blow for wages and living standards.

Unconventional Economist


    • The worlds best and brightest are needed FOR: fruit picking and underpaid kitchen hands. Keeping the wine grapes and luxury meals for the rich, but not paid properly. Only a little of the gains will trickle down…

    • Billygoat
      Don’t worry it’ll be John Scotty and Phil that’ll be get the rogering this time…’ll see

  1. Is the job of politician on the skills shortage list?
    Given we have been running this so called skilled migration program for over a decade, and throughout this past decade, and currently, there continues to be a reported skills shortage, wouldnt this suggest that the so called skilled migration program isnt working if the problem still exists 10 years after the fix was implemented? But more likely Leith is right…Its Libs fulfilling their end of the deal with their donors. The evidence suggests this skills shortage is a scam.

    • Not unlike the NDIS scam about the NDIS scammers scamming the system & buying prestige vehicles and keeping them in showroom condition for TV cameras in attendance for the bust…gotta love a tip off:))

  2. The Big Australia policy is going well.

    If Labor every tried to roll the migration program back, the screaming from businesses would be epic.
    457 visa holders are afraid to report wage theft as they are worried it will effect their residency applications and businesses ruthlessly exploit this.

  3. The MBiz live stream yesterday with Catherine Cashmore was interesting – especially when she said she rented but had investment properties.

    The overall takeaway from that was housing in Australia is not viewed as a home but as an investment – even the place you live in, but prices are now so high its a mal-investment. If you must buy, get into inner city houses for the long term land value but don’t buy apartments as there is very little land value associated with each apartment.

    Now for the kicker.

    With apartments being hard to rent out and not viewed as a good investment, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, their prices are currently dropping.
    But…. when lil Joshie opens the immigration flood gates, those units are going to fill up rapidly and it will be back to rental utopia. With the return in demand, I expect prices to go up again.

    Basically everything logical that all of us at Macro Business expected to happen during the pandemic, has gone exactly the opposite direction – so why not apartments too?



      If nobody’s buying apartments, then banks are not lending for that purpose.
      What matters most to the ponziteers is fresh consumers and lots of them.
      What ‘we’ see ( as immigration has dropped off) as a benefit to society, the ponzi supporters see as an existential threat.
      Prepare for enhanced (and catch-up) immigration despite the reasoned arguements to the contrary as they have the power to do so.
      Only a flaring C19 outbreak can prevent their plans from being implemented. They know this and are quite worried that failure is a possibility.

  4. Must have been hard for them to turn off the taps to India the other day, even if it was just a trickle.

  5. Dahls ChickensMEMBER

    That skilled visa test in full…

    Q1. What workplace skills will you bring to Australia?
    a) No hablo ingles
    b) I have 5 stars on Uber
    c) Intermediate fruit picking
    d) Software development

    Q2. Which of the following best describes your attitude to credit?
    a) Neither a lender nor a borrower be
    b) I am ‘credit curious’
    c) I regularly use loans to finance purchases
    d) I would be willing to meet a CBA mortgage broker in Arrivals

    If you answered b, c or d to Q1 & Q2…CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Could I politely suggest an amendment:
      Q1(d) Can cut and paste from StackOverflow.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Close, but there’s no way they’d be approved for all the debt that is required for a starter house in a capital city (probably anywhere) on the wages their employer will pay them, and steal the rest from them.
      They would likely need multiple families and/or multiple jobs each.

      • Frank DrebinMEMBER

        The ANZACs invaded Turkey in 1915 to defend Australia’s right to keep slaves in 2021 ??.

        Colour me confused !!.

  6. If Scotty and Josh open the immigration taps while covid is still raging and evolving they will deserve everything they get.
    It will not be the first time politicians have been dragged onto the streets and been given a public thrashing

  7. We’re lucky to have the ALP as an alternative.
    They are the worker’s party and would promptly cut migration to protect jobs and wages.

  8. Except that the borders aren’t going to open.
    This sh*t shows the system is desperate, and yes, it is about apartments…

  9. MB, can never stop dog whistling e.g. skilled migrants whose annual intake represents <0.5% of the estimated population…… outcomes have been framed on short term data ignoring the positives of a longitudinal study including first generation; Bob Birrell and team did research in '90s finding that offspring of 'immigrants' (ex. German/Dutch) had higher education outcomes vs. (Anglo/Irish) Australians. It's why Australians are often described as being afraid of their own shadows, or minorities, so much for the Digger spirit…..

    • Dude, the 1990’s was a loooooooong time ago, involved immigration of far far smaller numbers with a very different mix. The 1990s was pre Howard edu-migration industry with Greek, Italian, Yugoslavian, and Vietnamese the dominant migrant groups. Very very very very different to today.

      Research from the 1990’s is utterly irrelevant to considering the wisdom of current policy settings.

    • Well it’s close to 1% overall and it also feeds into the so called natural increase. And long term studies ignore the continual supply shock of 200,000 plus migrants each year.

  10. Jumping jack flash

    2019 approaches quickly.
    Hopefully CPI starts moving up or we’re completely screwed.
    Hopefully all that “savings” people are supposed to have since COVID can be spent on CPI, and then create wage increases.

    If we dont increase the economy’s debt capacity we will have 2019 again. Brace for a swathe of business closures and layoffs otherwise.