Low immigration will boost jobs and incomes

7 May 2021

Media Releases 2021

Sustainable Population Australia



Skilled migration into Australia should have stricter labour market testing and a required income threshold to ensure migrant labour is not used to undercut Australian workers. This is the thrust of a submission by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) to the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into skilled migration.

SPA National President Ms Jenny Goldie believes the incomes of Australian workers have been suppressed by high immigration for too long, and this should not be allowed to continue.

“Such economists as Gareth Aird, Ross Garnaut and Judith Sloan agree that economic indicators show that immigration has caused a weakening of the labour market and downward pressure on wages.

“A downward pressure on wages is the opposite of what should happen if there really were a skills shortage,” says Ms Goldie.

“Coupled with an enormous increase in housing costs, lower-income Australians have seen declining standards of living for a number of years. Cries of ‘skills shortage’ from industry and business are, in reality, a stalking horse for seeking cheap labour and diminished working conditions.

“We agree with Professor Garnaut’s call, in his latest book Reset, for a significant reduction in Australia’s level of net migration, post-COVID-19, to half the pre-COVID level.”

Ms Goldie says SPA rejects calls by some commentators and politicians to return to the pre-pandemic ‘normal’ of high immigration and high population growth.

“Repeatedly, surveys show that the overwhelming majority of the Australian people do not want more population growth,” she says.

“SPA recommends the government require all skilled migrants to be paid at least at the 75th percentile of full-time earnings, to prevent the frequent gaming of the skilled migration pathway.

“Lifting the salary floor for skilled migrants would ensure Australia’s visa system is used sparingly by employers to hire highly skilled migrants with specialised skills, not as a tool to undercut local workers and eliminate the need for providing training.”

The full SPA submission (no. 137) can be viewed at the web site of the parliamentary inquiry.

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