The former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has laid down his
views on migration claiming in an article in ‘The Australian’ that high
migration levels had led to this country experiencing stagnant wages, unaffordable
housing and a clogged infrastructure, leading to increased living costs.
Mr Abbott said that immigration numbers should be cut from
190,000 a year to 110,000. While he acknowledged
that some of the top senior jobs may need qualified experts from overseas, he
questioned whether Australians had become too fussy about the type of jobs
they’d be prepared to undertake.
He pointed to backpackers picking crops, overseas students
waiting at restaurants and migrants running IT businesses – jobs that he felt
could be sourced from local workers. He added that the ‘basic law of economics shows that by
increasing the supply of labour, wages will decrease as a result.’
In defence of migration
Current migration rates can make for alarming reading. A new report by Infrastructure
Australia suggests that the country’s population is expected to grow by 11.8
million people by 2046. That’s
equivalent to a city the size of Canberra every year or a city the size of
Adelaide every five years.
But while Mr Abbott’s opinions may well have struck a chord
with many, there were others who rallied to the defence of migrants and the
current migration levels. Research by the Australian National University found that 'immigration had no impact on the wages of employed workers', with 'positive effects of migrant workers outnumbering negative effects 'three-to-one'.
One of the biggest issues put forward for migrant workers is not that they increase general unemployment or drive down wages, but they they are more susceptible to exploitation by their employers.
While immigrants increase the supply of labour, the basic law of economics is that demand for labour grows because of their existance in this country. They also provide a much-needed tax base for the Government.
Ageing population will decline
Consideration also needs to be given to Australia’s ageing
population. More migrants are needed to
offset losses for a workforce which will be soon retiring. Over the past 20 years, the current birth rate has fallen below the replacement rate and according to the Treasury Department, Australia's population will eventually decrease without immigration.
In 1960, the average life expectancy for males was around 68 years-old, Todays it's 78 and by 2042, it will be 83. Migrants are needed to improve this imblance. Many come to this country in their twenties and go on to have a family here.
Putting Australia on a more competitive global scale
There's also the argument that migrants contribute to the economic growth of Australia. Greater numbers incrase the size and skillset of the workforce making this country far more competitive on a global scale. First generation migrants who are non English speaking are often hungry for success, risk takers and more likley to create businesses and start-ups.
Migration has, and always will be a hot topic of conversation. If you want advice about moving to Australia, whether it be short-term or permanently, why not call the team here at Visa Solutions Australia?