Immigration collapse driving up wages

Another day, another story about how the collapse in immigration is driving up wages and conditions for domestic workers that no longer have to compete for jobs with foreigners. This time the empirical evidence is from New Zealand, which in the years leading up to COVID ran a similar mass immigration policy to Australia:

Skilled job hunters are in the driver’s seat to negotiate better pay and perks say recruiters, as the Government confirms tight border controls won’t be relaxed till the first part of 2022 at the earliest…

An associate director of international recruitment agency Robert Walters​ says it is “hot, hot, hot’ in her recruitment zone…

“Companies are having to adjust and adopt a retention strategy to keep good staff and some are offering sign-on bonuses to get a new employee,” she said…

In its 2021/22 Australia and New Zealand salary guide Hays Recruitment state that job candidates are in the driving seat… Almost half intended to increase their permanent headcount in the year ahead and 67 per cent said they would increase salaries.

“More skilled professionals will receive a pay rise because with skills in demand, employers are re-examining pay”…

Drake New Zealand’s Wellington-based manager Steve Humphrey said that in such a competitive environment, said there had been a big upswing in permanent positions rather than temporary contracts…

No wonder businesses want borders open. Flooding the labour market with foreigners necessarily reduces workers’ bargaining power and lowers wages, increasing business profits. By contrast, lower immigration means higher wages and less profits.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus ‘gets it’:

Sally McManus

So why is Labor remaining deafly silent while the Morrison Government wages a quiet war on the working class?

Unconventional Economist


  1. They want borders open, but I think there will also be a flood of skilled professionals leaving NZ and OZ when this happens. Since COVID many of us now have the ability to work remotely, and not just for these two countries, remote work is borderless. Now many countries are poping up for the new digital nomands with extremely good tax breaks, better life styles, cheaper costs of living and often a chance at a second residency or citizenship. I mean why would you stay in expensive depressive OZ/NZ when you could work remotely from the beaches of Thailand in future.

    • I remember landing at a few beaches in Thailand to find the water full of plastic bottles, rubbish everywhere … might just be a Phuket thing. Then again, full moon party at Kho Phang wasn’t pretty

      • Nope, a few other beachers were getting like that but they have done big clean up programs and a lot has been removed, they are also limiting some spots so there isn’t so much foot traffic to allow beachers to have a better chance at recovery. Thailand, Cambodia, Phillipines, they all have their crosses to bear but in general a lot of people retire there because the life is often dollar for dollar better value and you can afford to have a life.

    • In reality the number of people this is a feasible option for, is miniscule.

      Lots and lots of people are able to work remotely. Relatively few are able to compete in a global jobs market, which is what they have to do once that first gig they had when they left is over.

      • Yes.

        I mean, it’d be great if I could up stumps to somewhere around Grenoble or Montelimar or Pau but really.

        Actually, Oahu or Maui has a certain appeal.

    • She thinks immigrant workers shouldn’t be exploited any more than natives ones should. Is that the same thing as wanting more immigration ?

        • Well it’s important to check, because on MB the typical benchmark for ‘pro rampant immigration’ is ‘not anti-immigration’.

          In that case, then, I’m pretty sure the answer is no. I’ve never seen a statement from McManus advocating “rampant immigration”.

          • Fishing72MEMBER

            Sally McManus always goes out of her way to delineate between visa workers and immigrants as the source of the problems. She has made strident efforts to label visa workers as the cause of wage suppression without ever mentioning the mass immigration which achieves the same result. It’s specious to act as though this specific delineation does not express her sentiments clearly. Mass immigration pushes down wages as surely as visa workers thus her failing to mention the immigrants makes her position obvious ie she has no problem with the mass immigration Ponzi scheme.

          • All that really matters is net migration, which feeds directly into population growth, which feeds directly into fake “GDP growth”. Like Albanese, Woke Sally will never discuss in plain terms, mad Morrison’s published 235,000 net migration target. Therefore, she cannot possibly take exception, if we assume that she supports him.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      I think McManus fails (or doesn’t want to publicly admit) the link between high immigration and low wages. She’d rather blame the decline in “bargaining power” for low wages. Of course mass immigration is a tool to strip unions of bargaining power.

      • McManus has an obvious interest in promoting unionism.

        But even that aside if bargaining power had been maintained, either we’d ba lot more productive and equal, or immigration would be a lot lower.

  2. So why is Labor remaining deafly silent while the Morrison Government wages a quiet war on the working class?
    To be honest in my last 10 years living in Australia I haven’t met all that many “working class”
    What I have met is some very astute investors who have doubled tripled or even quadrupled their wealth all through the magic of the Aussie Real Estate market.
    As for the old 70’s Aussie Working Class slobs, living in some sort of social housing, who bring home a wage that’s just enough to pay for rent, food and beer…well they must be a dying breed
    If I ask workers at the local pub what they really want, I will hear ideas like
    First home buyer grants
    Low cost government sponsored home loans for widows and single mums
    Less foreign workers (and students) is definitely one of the things that I hear but it comes in a distant third or fourth.
    With solidarity like that I wouldn’t count on the working class rising again in Australia, ffs they don’t even see themselves as working class.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      They’re entrepreneurs and business men! This is why Labor’s anti profits stance dooms them. Australians want profits and prosperity, not 70s commie rubbish and failed businesses.

      This is why Australian small business entrepreneurs love the Scotty Government. High immigration helps profits and house prices, which is what entrepreneurs want.

  3. “So why is Labor remaining deafly silent while the Morrison Government wages a quiet war on the working class?”
    My best guess is to play the small target so as not to rile the business lobby groups and the Murdoch press. At worst – they’re captured totally. Hard to be sure exactly so hopefully we’ll know more closer to the election.

  4. I'll have anotherMEMBER

    “So why is Labor remaining deafly silent while the Morrison Government wages a quiet war on the working class?”

    Good question.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Because Labor’s old base of tradesmen are all entrepreneurs now. Labor support what they want, and they want business profits and second houses on the coast.

      It’s democracy at work. No one likes PAYE slobs, or wants to represent them. Doing so is the ticket to political irrelevance. If these PAYE slobs had any get up and go they’d join the entrepreneur class and make profits.

      • Jumping jack flash


        Hawke’s proud workers of yesteryear are all gone. The remaining ones are embarrassed.

        Much of the problem is you cant be eligible for the debt you need from being a worker these days.

        • Lord DudleyMEMBER

          The LNP were very clever to destroy the car industry. It was a bastion of steady jobs, of varying technical complexity, quite a few of which were unionised. Now all those workers are either precarious PAYE employees elsewhere, or have become small-businessmen, and thus in favor of tax cuts and low wages.

  5. Sally McManus wouldn’t know if her best mate was up her.

    Actually, given Sally’s predilections, let me rephrase that.

    Sally McManus wouldn’t know if she had a Melbourne tram up her.

    That creature is a staunch supporter of massive immigration because it feeds through into some union membership, and work for the construction unions such as the CFMEU who clearly run things in the union movement. That then supports her cushy lifestyle.

    The union “movement” is as stupid and corrupt as everything else in this country, and Ms McManus epitomises that corruption.