Virgin boss: Give 1.6m temporary migrants Australian citizenship

Australia’s permanent migration program became increasingly less skilled last financial year with family visas comprising half of the intake in 2020-21:

Overall, there were 160,000 in Australia’s permanent migrant intake in the last financial year, up 20,000 from 2019-20, the Department of Home Affairs Migration Report 2020-21 says.

China became the top country for permanent migrants in 2020-21 for the first time since at least 2015, overtaking India.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told The Australian that reaching the government’s permanent migration target was a strong achievement “given the difficult circumstances this year”.

“Delivering a full program of 160,052 places meant drawing on the pool of onshore applicants due to global Covid-19 restrictions,” he said. “The government’s migration target will remain at 160,000 this year, with visa categories adjusted to help the economic recovery.

Now the boss of Virgin Australia has told the AFR’s Infrastructure Summit that the federal government should immediately grant Australia’s 1.6 million temporary visa holders citizenship:

Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka has called for the 1.6 million foreigners currently living in Australia to be made citizens to help solve the skills crisis.

“We’ve got a lot of temporary visa holders in Australia,” Ms Hrdlicka said. “They’re amazing people who are phenomenal parts of our community and we just need to make them all citizens”…

Australia is “short people” and can’t afford to lose them travelling to work overseas as borders re-open, Ms Hrdlicka said. “We don’t want anybody who’s here leaving.”

The CEO of Transurban, Scott Charlton, also endorsed looser visa conditions:

“With the borders opening up, I think there is an issue that we could lose some skills, and that they may go overseas”…

“We just need to make sure that we make it easy for them to come, and easy for them to get back to their families. And so they feel comfortable that if they get here, they’re not going to be stuck or have issues getting back and forth.”

Granting 1.6 million temporary visa holders citizenship would obviously increase Australia’s population (since migrants would remain in Australia rather than go home), which would make Australia’s infrastructure challenge more difficult. It would also further degrade Australia’s ‘skills-based’ migration program, since the overwhelming majority of temporary visa holders are unskilled:

The Department of Home Affairs’ Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants shows that every category of migrant, other than primary skilled migrants, experience higher rates of unemployment and are paid much less than the general population:

Migrant employment outcomes in Australia

Thus, following the Virgin boss’ ludicrous proposal would dumb-down Australia, raise unemployment, worsen public finances, and crush-load infrastructure purely to meet some stupid bigger population target.

Unconventional Economist
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    • Strange EconomicsMEMBER

      That’s 1.6 million toll payers (whch they can’t avoid, being sent to the only cheaper housing areas) and 1.6 million discount flight customers, once settled in permanently.
      Give these lobbyists, i mean managers, a $ 1 million bonus for their brilliant business management.
      Plus will lower costs for all those restaurants. Its really annoying the lunchers now that staff have to get paid the minimum wage.

  1. Consider that many with the temp status are actually planning to stay put in Aus until they get citizenship. Once gained, they would then be free to come and go as they please. Suspect the VA boss’ angle is to get people moving about.

    • I guess if your business model is spreading disease and emitting CO2, you’ve gotta try this sort of crap.

      • Yep desperate times. There’s no way travel is going back to its previous levels for quite a while. Can’t even be certain of an interstate trip.

  2. Treason.

    Is it just me or there a greater than normal amount of gaslighting going on at the moment about the so called skills shortage?

  3. This person is head of an airline. Immigrants visit home countries. Poorly paid immigrants are more likely to use the lower cost airline. He’s just talking his book. That’s part of his job and should be interpreted that way. Sort of like a used car saleman spruking the desirability of regularly trading in your car for another one.

  4. You and I might call it ludicrous. But Jacinda Ardern would disagree, which is why she has just granted Permanent Residency to all temporary migrants still in NZ. Over 165,000 of them. All of them now entitled to buy houses, get welfare benefits, and of course – vote in the next General Election. Don’t be surprised if the same happens in Australia.

    • The Traveling Wilbur 🙉🙈🙊

      Jacinda is waaaay smarter than most Kiwis think.

      There are/were 160 odd thousand… at the moment.
      Give it 12 months and MOST of those will be in Australia.
      Having voted on the way out, of course.

  5. “Australia’s permanent migration became increasingly less skilled, family visas comprising half of the intake.” And also remember, of the purported 76,000 inside “skill” stream, only 36,000 were principal applicants, the rest were dependents.

    “Record Levels Of Mass Migration” is first and safest dot point in the LibLab memorandum of understanding for Election 2022, and I can’t see any part of the power elite who will question them and stand up for voters. We’re f**ked.

  6. I want to become CEO so instead of doing any real work to formulate a sustainable business model, all I want to do is lobby the government to give me a bigger market so I can cash in my multi million dollar salary and bonus on the French Alps and send my future kids to Scotch Collage and bang a side thing in my apartment in the Docklands. Stuff the plebs.

    Economics 101.

    • Funnily enough, that is, word for word, the model answer to the only relevant question on the permanent migration visa form.

  7. How about we send them all home and import people who will actually integrate with our way of thinking.
    I’d live some Germans/ swiss/Brazilian/ etc living in my community. Bbqs would be great.

  8. If the boss of an airline gets an actionable and oversized vote on an issue of Australian sovereignty, does this mean the Australian people get a reciprocal actionable and oversized vote on how the airline he works for is run?

    Cool… airfares interstate.

    How easy was that!?

  9. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    It’s so strange that people who run airlines in this country seem to be ‘go to’ people for massive policy issue thinking. I mean how often do we hear what they think about the big policy questions of the day (and always presented as some sort of thoughtful position rather than talking their own book). It’s just weird, or would be in a ‘normal’ country.

  10. Jumping jack flash

    Also Virgin boss: “I need more debt to afford the lifestyle I expect being the boss of Virgin. To do that I must slash operating costs and increase margins out of which I can pay myself a nice bonus from being so savvy.”

  11. Muttafukaburrasaurus.MEMBER

    Hardlicka has form as a migrant sweatshop operator from her time at Jetstar.
    2016- International crew (40% cheaper) who were supposedly taking a rest break in Darwin, were deployed to crew domestic flights ex Darwin, before flying back to Asia. Totally in breach of CASA standards.

    • Muttafukaburrasaurus.MEMBER

      Correction it was 2018, a complaint to the TWU and 7:30 report at the time-
      July 2018
      “Jetstar are flying foreign Jetstar crews from Bangkok or Singapore to Melbourne then paxing (passengers) Melb-Adelaide.
      Overnight in Adelaide then flying as Jetstar Australia crew from Adelaide- Darwin – Denpasar; overnight in denpasar then return flight as crew to adelaide again.
      Caual Jetstar staff are missing out on flights due to this loophole which has just reopened. Jetstar previously escaped fairwork work ruling by claiming it was a domestic flight connected to an international flight that foreign staff were crewing.
      1. These crews are not trained to Australian CASA requirements, some have little English. An Australian or passable english speaker is often assigned as cabin manager so the announcements are comprehensible.
      2. These crew are paid a fraction of the minimum wage as they are contracted in Asia to service Asian flights”.

  12. Good luck with 1.6 million new citizens when many citizens, PRs and temporary residents do not have any great love affair with or for Australia versus many other choices where younger migrants, temp and/or permanent, are in demand (as dependency ratios go through roof).

    On this, ‘Australia’s permanent migration program became increasingly less skilled last financial year with family visas comprising half of the intake in 2020-21’. T

    The data presented is a short term snapshot aka PR techniques, includes dependents, but does not reflect medium long term outcomes of immigration (we are all immigrants ex. indigenous, but where is this magic line in the sand and how has it been developed?). Medium and long term, would show like everywhere that ‘immigrants’ end up reflecting society in voting habits (yes, many vote LNP), education, employment and economic outcomes.