Pascoe shreds Grattan’s low-wage ‘skilled’ visa reforms

Recall the Grattan Institute’s skilled temporary migration report, which was released yesterday and recommends an uncapped wage floor for temporary skilled migrants of $70,000, which is $13,000 below the median full-time wage of Australians of $83,000 (which includes unskilled workers):

Grattan Institute recommendations

Memo to Grattan: $70,000 is by definition not “high-wage”, since it is well below the median.

Grattan justifies its low wage floor as follows:

We recommend a $70,000 wage threshold, which is slightly below the full-time earnings of the median Australian worker of $83,000 a year. The threshold is set below median full-time earnings since temporary skilled visa holders are often younger, and therefore in the early stages of their career, earning lower incomes. The median full-time wage for Australian workers aged 25-34 is $71,750.

To add further insult to injury, Grattan proposes that the $70,000 ‘skilled’ wage floor would apply to migrants of any age in any occupation:

Grattan's temporary skilled migrant plan

Open slather access to low-wage temporary ‘skilled’ migrants.

This would see older migrants with years of experience being used to undercut local workers. It also goes against Grattan’s claim (quoted above) that $70,000 is appropriate because “temporary skilled visa holders are typically younger, and therefore in the early stages of their career”.

The New Daily’s Michael Pascoe has lambasted Grattan’s pitiful low $70,000 wage floor, arguing that it will undercut Australian workers:

Michael Pascoe tweet

Spot on. Skilled visa holders should be paid well above the population median, regardless of age. Otherwise they can’t be considered genuinely skilled.

Moreover, even taking Grattan’s spurious “younger argument” into account, why has it set the migrant wage floor below the “median full-time wage for Australian workers aged 25-34 [of] $71,750”, which again is pulled down by unskilled workers? Surely skilled migrants should be paid much higher? Otherwise they are not highly skilled.

In its report, Grattan complains that “more than half of sponsored workers earn less than the typical full-time Australian worker, up from 38 per cent in 2005”. So why not set a salary threshold that ensures that 100% of skilled migrant workers earn more than the typical Australian worker? This would deliver a genuinely skilled system.

The likely answer is that the Grattan Institute is really a big business lobby in disguise. As noted on Wikipedia:

Grattan receives money from its endowment supporters and affiliates, which include The Myer Foundation, National Australia Bank, Susan McKinnon Foundation, Medibank Private, Google, Maddocks, PricewaterhouseCoopers, McKinsey & Company, The Scanlon Foundation, Wesfarmers, Ashurst, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Deloitte, General Electric, ANZ, Jemena, Urbis, Westpac and Woodside Petroleum.

Just look at Grattan’s supporters page, which is dominated by big business. Its board is also stacked with parties that benefit from mass immigration, namely big business and the edu-migration lobby:

Grattan Institute board

Stacked board

Finally, the report’s lead author, Henry Sherrell (a vocal immigration shill), admitted that it was funded by pro-immigration lobby the Scanlon Foundation, which was established by real estate developer and rich lister Peter Scanlon:

Henry Sherrell

As explained by the Herald-Sun’s John Masanauskas in 2009 (link deleted):

MAJOR investor and former Elders executive Peter Scanlon hardly blinks when asked if his conspicuous support for a bigger population is also good for business.

Mr Scanlon, whose family wealth is estimated to be more than $600 million, has set up a foundation with the aim to create a larger and socially cohesive Australia.

It also happens that Mr Scanlon has extensive property development interests, which clearly benefit from immigration-fuelled high population growth.

“My primary driver in (setting up the foundation) is if we don’t have growth we are going to lose all our youth because the world is looking to train people around the world,” he explains. “Instead of having stagnant growth, we’re going to have a serious decline.”

Mr Scanlon believes that governments aren’t doing enough to sell the benefits of a bigger population so he has put his money where his mouth is…

Let’s not pretend that the Grattan Institute is impartial in the immigration debate. It is a stealth ‘Big Australia” lobbyist for the business sector.

Always follow the money.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. We recommend a $70,000 wage threshold, which is slightly below the full-time earnings of the median Australian worker of $83,000 a year.

    Since when is one number 18.5% lower than another number “slightly” below it?! Imagine how the author might feel if, oh, I don’t know, the bank valued their investment property “slightly” below what they paid for it.

  2. There’s 151 jobs in Canberra we could farm out for $70k/pop with no noticeable reduction in competence.

    • Yes and we would be hearing the squeals from outer space, when they get their swill troughs taken off them and forced to hustle for a dollar in the real world.

      • Strange economicsMEMBER

        Just double capital gains tax for any sitting or ex parlimentarian – on all their side gigs in property. They can lead by example then.

  3. Whatever they do, the system will still get rorted. Immigration Compliance teams only operate in major capitals,
    It’s open slather anywhere else.
    Compliance is also restricted by overbearing arse covering administration and too few to make any difference.

  4. $70K is only “slightly” below $83K in the same way that Grattan are only “slightly” stooges and shills for anybody who will pay them to say something absurd.