A possie in Aussie

March 17, 2009

Migrant workers: Battle of the words, but first world wins again

The Australian Government has announced that it is cutting its intake of permanent skilled migration visas for the 2008-09 financial year by 14 per cent, down from 133,500 to 115,000.  Immigration Minister Chris Evans says the cuts were made to reflect economic climate.

This has brought a slew of views from across the nation:

Professor of economics at the University of  Canberra Phil Lewis says

“These policies are very popular largely because it’s very appealing to say when unemployment goes up why would you bring foreigners in. But migrants actually create jobs, they need houses and the retail sector receives a boom because migrants tend to spend more. Migration should be seen as a long-term policy to encourage economic growth and protect further skills shortages.” Cutting migration could cost jobs

Wilhelm Harnisch of the Master Builders Association says the cuts are warranted because unemployment in the building sector is rising.

National secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union John Sutton says the need for migrants on “457 visas” in construction, forestry, mining and energy has dried up

The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, while stopping short of calling for a complete halt in 457s visas, say temporary migration numbers have to be cut severely.

But Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s chief executive Peter Anderson predicts trade skill shortages.

“You don’t want migration policy to move in high peaks and low troughs, because that does create dislocations through the economy” he said. The Australian Industry Group, which represents 10,000 employers, agreed.

Business Council of Australia deputy chief executive Melinda Cilento defends temporary migration programs, saying 457 was a good scheme that moved with market demand.

Mark Wooden from the Melbourne Institute says  research had shown that migration could create jobs, as people who moved to Australia stimulated the economy through spending on retail goods, among other things, and that cutting the legitimate visa program would develop a “protectionist” mentality in Australia. Unions urge more cuts in skilled migrants

Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens warns of a possibility that the humanitarian intake might be next to be cut Humanitarian intake must not be sacrificed as skilled migration cut

Andrew Bartlett reminds us that

“The migrants have often explicitly been told it would provide a potential pathway to permanent residence, as the subclass 457 visa scheme was sometimes specifically promoted in that way to potential migrants.”

Push to sack migrant workers

Also have a look at No natural justice for Chinese 457 workers in Australia

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