Immigration has not harmed jobs and earnings of local workers, according to modelling out on Monday 15 July.
The Committee for Economic Development (CEDA)'s report, Effects of temporary migration, examines the impact of immigration and recent trends in temporary migration.
“CEDA’s analysis shows that temporary skilled migration is critical in delivering benefits to business, the economy more broadly and to the existing workforce.
“However, concerns about the impacts of temporary skilled migration have been raised consistently resulting in frequent changes to the scheme, including most recently the abolition of the 457 visa class.
“Our research has found that key concerns around temporary skilled migration, such as impacts on local workers as a result of visas such as the 482 and its predecessor the 457, are unfounded.
“The average base salary for a skilled temporary visa holder is quite high at $95,000, meaning these workers are unlikely to undercut local employment terms and conditions.
“In addition, they are a small group, with temporary skilled migrants of working age accounting for less than one per cent of Australia’s labour force.
“However, often unpredictable change to this visa category has come at the cost of undermining the ability of business to undertake workforce planning with certainty.
“At a time when more businesses are finding it difficult to source the skills they need, strengthening and providing greater transparency and certainty around temporary skilled migration would support business investment and productivity.
“Temporary migrants also contribute to the economy by paying taxes and spending in the communities in which they live, increasing demand for goods and services and supporting local economic activity and jobs.”
Ms Cilento said while CEDA’s research confirms the positive impact of temporary skilled migration it was important to ensure that the broader community had confidence in the system and that the training levies paid by businesses recruiting skilled migrants were being effectively used to build in demand skills locally.
“CEDA’s report recommends changes to improve transparency and efficiency in the temporary skilled migration system to deliver the dual benefits of improving community confidence in the system and ensuring business can access the skills they need,” she said.
“Skilled migration supports business investment and productivity which are vital for keeping our economy strong.
“Incomes in Australia have been stagnant and lifting productivity can help lift incomes across the community.”
Ms Cilento said there are actions that can be taken immediately to improve the system and make it easier for businesses to get the skills they need now and in the future:
- Increasing transparency of data and methods used in determining professions for the skilled occupation list;
- Ensuring occupation codes used to assess skill shortages align with evolving labour trends to ensure temporary skilled migration is responsive to emerging skill needs;
- Introducing a dedicated path for intra-company transfer of employees to Australia; and
- Better aligning the Skilling Australia Fund Levy to alleviate the skill shortages driving the need for skilled migration.