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Australia – Temporary migrant workers increase job market competition

04 February 2013

Immigrants in Australia are increasing competition in the job market as new research claims that since 2011, the number of jobs created in Australia was equalled by the number of new migrants who found employment.

The report by Monash University looked at the impact of immigration on the Australian workforce, in the context of a slowing economy.

The researchers found that the high numbers of low-skilled migrants had a negative impact on employment levels and labour market participation of other Australians. Young people without higher education qualifications were most affected.

Dr Bob Birrell from Monash University said: “The rate of employment growth has roughly halved since 2010, compared to mining boom years. Despite this, the Australian Government has increased permanent immigration levels and encouraged the arrival of temporary workers.”

Most of these temporary workers live in urban areas and compete for low-skilled jobs.

“Employment growth is occurring in industries that require tertiary qualifications. In industries like manufacturing, construction, hospitality and retail, which offer entry-level positions, jobs growth is contracting,” Dr Birrell said.

“The resulting ferocious competition for employment is exacerbated by the influx of low-skilled migrants. Anecdotal reports of exploitation of temporary migrants, who might be more willing to work at below award wage for example, indicated just how challenging it is for younger Australians to find work.”

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