Boris Johnson chooses wage growth over mass immigration

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected “uncontrolled immigration” in favour of higher wage growth for local workers:

[Boris Johnson] said there would be no going back to the “same old broken model” of low wages, growth, skills and productivity which he said had all been “enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration”.

“The answer to the present stresses and strains which are mainly a function of growth and economic revival is not to reach for that same old lever of uncontrolled immigration to keep wages low,” he said.

“The answer is to control immigration, to allow people of talent to come to this country but not to use immigration as an excuse for failure to invest in people, in skills and in the equipment, the facilities, the machinery they need to do their jobs,” he said.

He linked the shortage of truck drivers to a lack of investment in “basic facilities” which meant that drivers had to urinate in the bushes, putting them off the profession.

“The direction in which this country is going now, towards a high wage, high skill, high productivity, and yes, thereby low tax economy … is what the people of this country need and deserve,” he said.

“Yes it will take time and yes, it will sometimes be difficult, but that was the change that people voted for in 2016 and that was the change they voted for again powerfully in 2019.”

Bravo. Now compare the conservative Johnson Government’s stance with the Morrison Government’s in Australia, which has committed to flooding the nation with cheap migrant workers via:

  • Uncapping the number of hours international students can work while studying in Australia;
  • Giving farmers a dedicated agricultural visa so that they can more easily hire foreign workers from South East Asian Nations;
  • Giving easier access to UK working holidaymakers under the newly signed free trade agreement;
  • Adding an extra 22 occupations to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List, in turn giving these occupations priority processing for migration and travel exemptions; and
  • Giving ‘skilled’ visa holders and international students easier access to work rights and permanent residency.

In announcing these reforms 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…”

Recall also the Intergenerational Report’s projection that net overseas migration (NOM) will be increased to 235,000:

By reopening the immigration floodgates, the Morrison Government is working directly against Australian workers.

Importing 180,000-200,000 migrant workers into Australia every year, as was the case pre-pandemic, will necessarily drive up labour supply and unemployment, lower worker bargaining power, and place downward pressure on Australian wages.

It is the polar opposite of a ‘Team Australia’ approach and is sadly endorsed by both Labor and the Greens.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. Jumping jack flash

    The banks will be pleased with Boris!

    Scomo has seemingly made his choice to shun the banks in favour of the [shortsighted] business lobby.

    • Boris’s more a man of thought bubbles lasting for 5 minutes than an analysed plan.

      Now they are panicking to get in more Polish truckdrivers.
      Brexit vote got up from foolishly asking the punters if they thought they were losing on low wage jobs to EU workers.

      Scomo will reuse this quote as
      “Australia will be getting” back to the “same old broken model” of low wages, growth, skills and productivity which he said had all been “enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration”.”

      • Jumping jack flash

        Its a shame they keep looking for cheap labour while at the same time cry out about labour shortages.

        Debt maximisation is the name of the game and you can’t do that while being paid like a polish truck driver, I’m sure.

        Businesses are insane. Maybe the business owners should all go back to business school? If the truck drivers they employ don’t earn enough money to participate in the economy and buy the shops’ imported goods, and services of questionable utility, then who can buy them? There isnt enough 1%ers by definition.

      • Boris’s thought bubbles last about as long as he is speaking, by the afternoon he will have rewritten history to suit the next narrative. It was purely by accident that wages went up and Boris and his scummy chums are taking credit for it. There is of course truth in it as wages for some have gone up and employers will have to get off their arses and train locals up but at no point in history have the Tories championed anything other than the barest of minimum wages for the bottom half of the population. Boris also said that ‘wages ‘growth’ is more important than cancer outcomes, which are proving to be pretty bad right now with the NHS starved of investment and staff over the last 10 years or so, and many of them have left the country since Brexit, some thanks to the street level racism that has been quietly approved of for the last 5 years since the Brexit referendum. They also reduced new nurse intakes leading up the brexit date by imposing a full £9kpa charge on student nurses, ie the same as a future banker or accountant would pay and more recently have mooted that loans should be paid back starting at £21Kpa rather than around £30kpa. The list of evidence against what Boris spews up on a daily basis is a matter of public record. As someone living in the UK right now, I can tell you it is a shambles. Even many true believers and brexiteers are having second thoughts.

  2. Aside the abominable weather and bad teeth, it certainly makes a compelling case to move there, if not for their intolerable “football” code. Though, the Alps and Pyrenees and Spring Classics in Flanders would be very close….hrmmmm

    *ducks for cover*

    • Narapoia451MEMBER

      It’s a fun place to live with disposable cash and a strong liver, and maybe a few less miles on the clock… for a while, before the weather just grinds you down.

      I know Europe is close but damn the day to day for 8-9 months a year in the UK is dark, damp and cold.

  3. And the cost is the largest animal cull in British history, the demise of the turkey industry and multiple shortages. And there’s the humiliation of offering 5,000 visas and the EU drivers telling the UK to get stuffed.
    Johnson has won the politics so far but he fails economics.

      • – Why anyone would believe anything Boris Johnson says is beyond me. Johnson (and his band of merry Brexiteers) are a bunch of liars who stack one lie on top of another one.
        – What would help is to write off all the debt. That would truly help the british economy.

      • – This shows 2 things:
        1)) “Our” “Unconventional Economist” has a very poor understanding of the internals of the working of capitalism.
        2)) It’s time that both “Unconventional Economist” and “Houses and Holes” abandon their (outdated) Austrian school views on how an economy works and become hard core followers of the Keynesian school of economics.

      • – You’re overlooking that this is part of the process of proponents of Brext being dragged into admitting that Brexit was a GIANT disaster.
        – Already in 2016 there was “Operation Yellowhammer” (GOOGLE it). This produced a document in which the (very) detrimental impact of Brexit was laid out by government officials. There were numerous people who warned about the negative impacts (plural) of Brexit long before Brexit happened.
        – After Brexit indeed happened bit by bit the ugly truth about Brexit came out. Bit by bit the ugly predictions became reality. But the Tory government kept dragging their feet, was very reluctantly in acknowledging the ugly reality. The Tory government kept blaming e.g. the EU for all things that went wrong with Brexit (utter nonsense of course). But now unable to deny the all the shortages (e.g. petrol/gas shortages, CO2 shortages, etc. etc.) they only grudgingly are willing to accept a little more blame for the diasaster called Brexit.
        – But instead admitting the full ugly truth, the Tory party now has a new line of defense. They say that the shortages are part of a cunning plan to improve the situation for the british public. And that this will help to raise wages and help to increase productivity of the british worker. Pure Nonsense. It’s all spin. The Tory party “gives a monkey’s” about the average british worker. Again, the words “raising wages” is only spin.

        – A good source for this kind of information is a guy who runs the british YouTube channel called “A Different Bias”.
        https://www.youtube.com/c/ADifferentBias

    • That is due to the displacement of local workers by migrants in most unskilled jobs requiring manual labour, the consequence being that when the migrants leave you are just left with a lot of useless office workers. The solution is to pay people working in those jobs a better wage so that they can do the job and still live a decent life, it is not to bring back a lot of poor migrants and treat them as pseudo slaves.

      • Where I live in the midlands of the UK right now, there are not hundreds of new jobs being advertised and nor have wages offered gone up by a single penny. The bigger employer groups are doing what Ausie farmers for eg do. ie crying poor to the government in the hope of a new handout of work gangs from somewhere cheap. Boris and chums did not have the plan of a high tech, high wage economy in mind, this is just something they are claiming now. They also over the last 20 odd years did not have to take in so many EU immigrants but wanted to, to keep wages low. They had full control over things like unemployment benefits, housing benefits (that some poorer paid workers can get) and so on, just like some other EU countries do with immigrants. The current Tories are serial liars and change their tune with the weather, telling everyone, that’s how it was planned when it patently was not.

    • Surely this was satire? Johnson even joked a decade or so ago when running for mayor that anyone caught legging it across the Channel via the Chunnel should be awarded migration bonus points for ‘running the gauntlet’ successfully, and exemplifying the ‘spuk’ that the UK is missing and needs from immigration…..

      Fact is, UK like most of the developed (?) world, due to ageing/longevity is approaching or has passed the demographic sweet spot. That is permanent population pyramid with static numbers of working age taxpayers to support increasing numbers of pensioners who voted for Brexit but don’t understand why most sectors are lacking workers….

      Of course it has nothing to do with Brexit nor those Koch linked think tanks, media and Tory MPs promoting radical right libertarian socio-economic ideology in avoiding EU constraints and similar for those across the Atlantic, in Russia and developing nation ‘elites’; using the ‘immigration’ card to win the referendum, very cute.

    • Surely this was satire? Johnson even joked a decade or so ago when running for mayor that anyone caught legging it across the Channel via the Chunnel should be awarded migration bonus points for ‘running the gauntlet’ successfully, and exemplifying the ‘spunk’ that the UK is missing and needs from immigration…..

      Fact is, UK like most of the developed (?) world, due to ageing/longevity is approaching or has passed the demographic sweet spot. That is permanent population pyramid with static numbers of working age taxpayers to support increasing numbers of pensioners who voted for Brexit but don’t understand why most sectors are lacking workers….

      Of course it has nothing to do with Brexit nor those Koch linked think tanks, media and Tory MPs promoting radical right libertarian socio-economic ideology in avoiding EU constraints and similar for those across the Atlantic, in Russia and developing nation ‘elites’; using the ‘immigration’ card to win the referendum, very cute.

  4. “Giving easier access to UK working holidaymakers under the newly signed free trade agreement;”

    Should this be on the list? Will we not have easier access to the UK?

    • If you can pick crops for £9 per hour and at the same time hand back 1/3 of that to the farmer to pay for your single berth in a 6 berth caravan.

  5. “The direction in which this country is going now, towards a high wage, high skill, high productivity, and yes, thereby low tax economy … is what the people of this country need and deserve,” he said.

    IF Australia were heading in this direction then I’d be 100% in agreement with Boris, high levels of Immigration would be unnecessary and therefore immigration should be used as a highly selective tool that Australia uses to further itself and its own self interests.
    But, here’s the thing, Australia is not climbing this skills pyramid, Australia is not increasing the productivity of its work force (in any global sense), Australia is not trending towards a high skill economy that can reward these skills with high wages, that’s not where we’re at and it’s definitely not where we’re headed.
    Maybe Australia can achieve high wages with low skills, but that particular optimization is only possible if our collective wealth results from something other than the focused and optimized allocation of our labour force. For this to happens our wealth must result from something that depends on neither labour nor skills, which is to say that our wealth is unearned.
    If such an optimization is possible than surely the greediest amongst us will claim it all for themselves, wouldn’t the very existence of such a fountain of wealth ensure that average Aussies were fenced out and prevented from drinking at this fountain? That’s the thing about a highly skilled economy, nobody can fence off the fountain because the wealth we create is the result of our collective skills .
    I dream of an Australia with such skills that the world lines up at our door, for just the chance to peek inside. I dream of an Australia where our human capital is globally valued, where houses and mines are these secondary elements (really not worth mentioning). I dream of an Australia where the world’s best and brightest put Australia near the top of their destination list.
    But my dreams are not the real world, my dreams are not reality, in truth Australia is nobody’s high skill utopia, it’s just an oversized mine where the locals gamble away their lives, give away their inheritance and sell their kids into debt slavery, oh and argue about immigration

    • As Boom will tell you; the first invaders were Dutch, and we have been suffering from Dutch disease ever since.

      • Unfortunately to suggest a diagnosis of Dutch disease is to imagine that average Aussies actually want a different outcome.
        In my Australia, other average Aussies (especially those that own multiple properties) are screaming for faster deindustrialization with economic deskilling and thereby doing everything they can to foster Dutch disease. Personally I’m reticent to call this behaviour a disease, it’s a bit like calling morbid obesity an eating disorder while requesting that Mickie’s adds a coke and supersizes the meal, because F’it we’re hungry.

        • “fkn lazy” is the phrase you are searching for.
          Someone here, I think @MiBo, said they regard themselves as working hard when they are sitting on the couch growing fat and waiting for their assets to inflate (which i guess is kind of the same thing).

        • Anders Andersen

          I can understand your confusion. If you’re as ignorant on everything else as you are on the cause of obesity, it’s understandable.

        • Agreed, except there’s a known cure for the French disease but no known cure for Dutch disease

    • Jumping jack flash

      Well said, but the missing ingredient you’re looking for is inflation. And lots of it.
      In my opinion it is the only solution now that we have hit zero interest rates. There is stiff opposition to it at the moment, but that will eventually change when the richest start wondering why they’re not getting richer as fast as they were before.

    • Australia used to have a ‘cool brand’ with younger generations everywhere by the ’90s, till reactionary Howard and since it’s been a nativist conservative Christian libertarian campaign to nobble any gains made by Australia for society.

      Exemplified by climate science avoidance, owned LNP, consolidated right wing media, xenophobia round ‘borders’, Iraq/AUKUS and materialism; Australians are known as glib and obsessed about (talking up) their prosperity as ‘New Americans’ (British too).

      • WhatcouldgowrongMEMBER

        My point is more that given the disingenuousness of the entire immigration debate, Boris employing the classic tactic of reclassifying something from “unskilled” to “skilled” is most likely in this instance

  6. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Back when ah were a lad the call went out …”Africa for the Africans “.
    then it became became ….”and England for everyone”…looks like they are trying to turn that around

    Boris will be in power for a few years yet if he sticks to his “populist “ ….(popular with his public ) views

    • Except that people who trusted him and the Brexit brigade are now finding out in real, practical terms how it is nothing like what they thought they were voting for. ie insane inflation, shortages, cheap labour jumping ship (they did overtly vote for this on account of racism) cant retire to sunny Spain, NHS not functioning, cant work in the EU anymore, nor can their kids going forward and so on. Anyone with a basic level of intelligence would have seen through both the tory and Brexit lies. Of course, just like in Australia, the mainstream press has a lot to answer for.