Benefits of Migration

In the last year or so, those who regularly argue that migration levels somehow harm Australians and the Australian economy achieved much more political traction than usual, leading to all political parties sending various signals suggesting that migration should possibly be scaled back.  This has been one factor  (amongst four or five others) linked to a dramatic drop in the number of international students now coming to Australia, with flow on negative impacts on export earnings, employment opportunities, tax revenue, labour availability and more.

There have been many studies and much research into the social and economic impacts of migration in a variety of countries, regions and localities. In more recent years, the balance of evidence regarding the net benefits of migrationhad become sufficiently strong that the United Nations Development Program has found that migration, both within and between countries, under the right conditions, “has the potential to increase people’s freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world” and “can enhance human development for the people who move, for destination communities and for those who remain at home.”

Some extra evidence comes in a recent study by labour economist Giovanni Peri from the University of California. California takes in more immigrants than any other state of the USA.  It shows that these new workers have not hurt the wages and employment prospects of native Californians, but rather have played “complementary” roles which can provide better outcomes for both groups.

None of this is to say that unlimited levels of migration in all situations and all localities will always produce a better net outcome. But it does reinforce the evidence that, within the right regulatory and social frameworks, there can be net economic and social positives from freer migration flows.

(reposted from Migration Law Matters)

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83 Comments

  1. Red Crab

    There may be people detained in Weipa at the moment (the Govt spoke about using a Defence site near there some time ago, although I don’t recall seeing anything about that many people being sent there).

    Everyting that you’ve about receipt of money is 100% false – people in detention do not receive any money at all. Almost certainly everything else that you’ve mentioned after that is also either totally or mostly false. This type of garbage has been repeatedly peddled and recirculated by liars and hate mongers for years.

    (although I would hope that condoms are readily available in all detention centres)

    As for ‘Australia needing to know’ – if the shockjock types put even 10% as much energy into debunking these sort of widely circulating myths as they did in propogating the half-truths and distortions that feed such antagonism, things would be very different.

  2. When I last looked at immigration figures, large numbers were coming from Asia, Africa & the Middle East compared with previous intakes.

    I think providing infrastructure for both existing Australian citizens & immigrants is exceedingly important, & not to be devalued as Wondering as done.

    Paying lower wages to migrants or Aussie citizens, or providing ANYONE with services that EVERYONE cannot get (regardless of their citizenship status) is a recipe for racial & religious tensions.

    Our schools are overcrowded with both students & buildings, with playground space suffering. Both curricula & disciplinary standards do not meet the expectations of a developed nation.

    Our hospitals are third world, & our ambulance service is inadequate. One could be forgiven for thinking the ongoing payroll debacle was designed to get rid of Queensland nurses from the system & land them in a position of homelessness.

    Our aged centres suffer from staff shortages, especially in the corporate sector, where Aussie workers & visa holders are financially abused, along with the residents they care for.

    Each year we bring more migrants to help build our nation, workforce and age pyramid, while the government continues to send work offshore. Go figure ……

    I have often stated that the Labor Party has locked us into a worldwide redistribution of populations & wealth over the last few decades. At the same time, it has progressively kicked our agricultural & manufacturing industries in the guts, which will probably get an excellent kick along from a Carbon Tax.

    The idea that we can feed 60 million people here in Australia came first from the CEO of the CSIRO at the National Press Club.

    Then I heard it again from a man representing the CSIRO on “Landline”, screened on the ABC at midday on Sundays.

    I believe the Murray/Darling Basin Plan has been designed to remove our farmers from the land using high water costs & rationing, & turn the land over to corporates.

  3. red crab – had you read my explanation above you’d have ralised I did not say you take drugs. Please accept my apologies for the misunderstanding.

    As to why you peddle the absolute vile rubbish you do, I have no idea. But I accpet your word that you don’t use drugs.

    Your word about everything else you wrote is not accpeted, partly becuase at long last I do have my own secret squirrel in place now, and I can assure you, as Andrew said, that detainees do not get paid anything, if theya re supplied with condoms (which I doubt) but if theya re, it is surely better than encouragign the spread fo disease, and we are obliged to treat everyone on our soil in ahumanitarian manner. As for them all being MEN .. good grief. Surelynot! Have younot seen the desperate refugees tryign to get out of Libya? Thevast majority of thema re men, Families often split up so th men can go on first to face danger and try to preserve their womenfolk and children as ong as possible. More men leave .. soem survive, so many more men will be refugees. Good grief man, what have you been fed by way of propaganda? As for going to Xmas island, I know a married couple who work there, and you have been fed some miscievous nonsense mate.

  4. wondering
    i am awere that you know i dont take drugs of any kind .
    as far as absolute vile rubbish mabe you would be brave enough to say that to my sorse who is here with me at this moment . and is heading back there in the near future .
    buy the way he was there trying to get some of those poor buggers from the water .

    i was there before the centre was built i was there when it was getting built and i have been there since

    but this is beside the point im trying to make
    which is
    there is a good oppitunity to study what happens when a community is overwhelmed buy a sudden influx of ppl
    but you and i both know that niether the govt or some accademics who are in favore of a population overlode for this country will want to go anywhere near that will they! .

    lets see now the water is getting short the sewerage has been blocked and has iv been told had a 26 mill upgrade to cope but with out enough water whats the point . and mabe you could tell me againe that this has not impacted badly on the community giving rise to resentment .

    so mabe you could enlighten me as to where my sorse is wrong in regards to those problems .

    the govt knows that there is many more on the way than they are telling us thats why they are desperate to house them on the mainland

    BUT they are sttill not willing to place these poor buggers where they should be WHERE THEY COULD ACCESS WHAT THEY NEED
    n.s.w victoria and queensland,.
    so why are they putting them in some of the most uninhabitable arias in western australia.
    im interested as to what type of work do the married couple you know do out there ?

    i just had a thought the swell is easing now there are a lot of boats that will be on the way very soon so what better time than to bring up a carbon tax i bet it will all evaporate in a few months

    .

  5. You know, the thread starter here was to do with the “benefits of immigration”. If the country was run properly with planning based on rationality and science, how many extra people,say unfortunate refugees, could we “carry”
    Yet, we see a planning paradigm most recently expressed in the Gunns decision last week, a decision that follows the sort of precedent set by state privatisations and infrastructure bungles created whilst trying to accomodate big business. Antics involving the Murray Darling and in general, certain types of mining and agriculture, also come to mind. Nineteenth century stuff for the twenty first century.
    Does any one here seriously beleive we have an effective and uncorrupted planning regime in place to ensure efficient use of resources for a larger population?

  6. Paul Walter:

    We are barely giving birth to enough babies to meet Zero Population Growth. In the future, we can expect our population to shrink to 7 million people, leaving us vulnerable to annihilation or takeover, unless an ambitious immigration program is maintained.

    Even then, half the number of migrants brought here each year leave the country again. That’s how great it now is to live in Australia.

    I expect that most of the food will soon be grown by large corporations, which will send it out of the country via privatised rail and ports, after Labor has finished shafting our farmers and graziers from their land with high water charges & rationing, and impoundment of their land under vegetation laws, with land rates and taxes remaining payable.

    As for your question as to whether or not we have an “effective and uncorrupted planning regime” in place, here is my answer. The government is as corrupt as hell. Their planning regime is un-Australian.

    BTW I saw an item on TV which portrayed Tasmania as a place without work, with lots of people leaving for greener employment pastures. Apparently a nice house can now be bought on the “apple isle” for $155,000.

  7. No, you misunderstand me, Lorikeet. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have an immigration program. We could have a win-win program, more efficient less unfair, if only our pol economic and commercial system was less inward looking and well, frankly, unless I’m wrong,”bent”. The venal aspect spills over into planning as the Gunns pulp fiction shows, also the nonsenses 4Corners uncovered a fortnight ago concerning the holding up by vested interests representative of agribusiness that you talk of, of meaningful reform to keep the Murray-Darling basin viable in future, as foodbowl for a population.
    Also, the privatisations and infrastructure farces.
    Bridge/tunnel/freeway to Nowhere?
    Why, the taxdollar will pay for it, even if it does create rather than lessen bottlenecks, despite the stated rational offered,that these are lessened if thepublic accepts the givenscheme.
    No doubt, many of your emigrants are hitech people off to takeup contracts elsewhere, many are replaced by folk recruited from India and the like. This is one area where globalisation does show promise and has become the norm.
    I do doubt that many Australians are leaving the slums of Indooroopilly or Point Piper to live in comparative luxury with the rest of the masses on the streets of Calcutta.
    I think your third to last para is largely correct. This para highlights the problem ts that have come of the corruption of market forces theory to accomodate vested interests. Much of this stuff wouldnt be even dreamed of by people with an understanding of economics, Just go to Prof Quiggin’s site for a REALeconomists take on neoliberalism.
    Tasmania could have been sorted out decades ago, but making things harder for folk down there is just been one more way of making Gunns activities and its filthy pulp mill acceptable to the uninformed and insecure in Tasmania.
    There’s no “socialist plot” in it- just the usual human traits of laziness, lack of imagination and greed.

  8. Paul Walter:

    I know that there really is a corporate neo-communist agenda being foisted upon us in this country by both Labor and Liberals. Labor is proactive in doing most of the damage, while Liberals never fix it.

    Hence they pass the ball back and forth between them, doing further damage all the time, because voters don’t take enough interest in what goes on.

    The DLP supports a Distributionist society in which income producing assets and utilities are owned by government, and goods/services are provided at the local level by small businesses, both rural and urban.

    The aim of corporates is to drive wages down using foreign labour, collect 12% superannuation contributions from everyone, charge for every service on a “user pays” basis and tax people to the eyeballs. Our government supports feeding these giants and giving them greater control of nearly every service, while constituents suffer financially.

    You are certainly correct in thinking that highly qualified people are leaving this country due to low wages and the government’s lack of interest in innovative technology.

    The lust for money and power is the primary driver of corporates.

    I’m afraid I cannot agree that tunnels necessarily create bottlenecks. They provide very fast transit times (for both public and private transport), and any bottlenecks created are generally ironed out.

    If there is money to be made on tollways, it should be coming back to our government coffers, not going into the vast holdings of The Macquarie Bank, along with the proceeds of traffic fines.

  9. red crab – I believe I may have misunderstood where you are coming from. The vile stuff I meant was on the radios and papaers, particularly in Prth. If you don’t go along with taht, and are feelign we need to be humane to everyone, whether they end up settlign here or not, then I am in total agreement. I need to go – lost my Dad yesterday – arranging a funeral. Cherish those you love – you can lose them in an instant.

  10. wondering
    simpathy for your loss.

    paul walter.

    Does any one here seriously beleive we have an effective and uncorrupted planning regime in place to ensure efficient use of resources for a larger population?

    how true is that statement
    the centrel issue is that very statement they cant be trusted .

  11. Precisely my point RC and the major area of agreement between us.
    They prove again and again, they are not to be trusted- Gunns is thelatest example- but we keep having plans offered up for the future that refuse to take into account Australian and global politics and pol economy realities, and refer to the needs of developers rather than locales and their inhabitants.

  12. I couldn’t agree more, rc.
    It basically what I was saying meself.
    Although we do have a planning regime up for most things, its just it keeps getting corrupted. It’s functional and does a rough job and the wastage has been covered so far by abundance.
    Our problem is staying well enough informed to influence how it operates and toprevent the hijacking of it by vested interests.
    It’s the “system”.
    Lorikeet puts it in slightly different terms and comes from a different trajectory, but its recognisably the same “beast”and anyone with half a brain wants to know how to handle it, which is why we are lucky blokes like Bartlett put up blogs like this, for our consideration and thought.
    For example, Lorikeet and I may never agree on the exact detail of how it works or tyhelanguage to describe it and we have some small differences in agenda, but the basic conclusion is the same ( nice to know others are also concerned, if nothing else) and comes from the same motive for being involved; the belief that it is a normal thing for a citizen to participate, to find out facts and do the right thing for both one’s self and a better world.
    All stems from the the time of Socrates, Aristotole and Plato, and the first (Athenian) democracy, that people find life in and through life the community and its life and that “the unconsidered life is hardly worth living.”

  13. Paul Walter:

    Yes, you’re right. It’s a pity more people don’t take an interest in the world and what goes on in it.

  14. just a bit of interesting trivia
    my son went back to THE ISLAND last week the day before he left he went a perchaced 2ltrs of milk to give to someone in the community who mite like if mabe for there kids
    the thing that suprised me was he told me how much 2lrs of milk cost there $17.00 with the problems the govt has made for the ppl of THE ISLAND its not suprising they are not happy with the govt and what they have done to them
    they dont get free meals .

  15. Red Crab:

    I saw footage of the Christmas Island facility on the television news last night. In the past I’m sure someone told us it was fairly well appointed, but it looked like a fairly ordinary place to me.

    Did the locals have to purchase a cow in order to get that milk?

  16. Was it four corners or lateline that was taking a close interest in events there (xmass)?
    It doesn’t really have us in a good light, the rest of the world will be watching. Altho I’d say it could be a law and udder issue just now, eh Lorikeet?

  17. Did the locals have to purchase a cow in order to get that milk?

    lorikeet
    i dont get the point.

    if you mean they should get a cow and dont complain
    then why dont alll the assylim seekers who have made there way there and payed a lot of money to get there do the same

    why are the ppl of christmas island treated as second class citisens in there own country.

    the reasion that there is trouble there is because they( have payed) to get there and think they have a rite to a free ticket to the mainland .

    question just how long will it be now before it happens in a camp on the mainland

    i predict less than six months.

    as far as population gos i would say take a good look at what happens when a place is over populated ( frustration and violence).

    .

  18. Red Crab:

    You said it cost $17.00 for 2 litres of milk. I figured that a price that high would have to include both the cost of the cow, veterinary attention and its hay allowance.

    I still think you would be wise to address all of your concerns to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

    Perhaps you could also write to Serco and let them know you’re not happy with the standard of their security measures. Perhaps the frustration and violence could be mitigated by giving the people something to do (e.g. household chores, recreational activities, crafts).

    Paul Walter:

    Good one! More milk should be made available, udderwise some people won’t be able to afford the breakfast cereal that goes with it.

  19. Yes, its true, Lorikeet.
    No milk, no cereal. Tell the truth, I’ve weaned myself off brekkie cereal-five dollars a packet for a bit sweetened wheat when I can do toast for a fraction of that?
    Serco used to run some of the buses down here in Adelaide- to no great effect- I had no idea myself just how huge they were. I agree that while we hold asylum seekers for checking etc, that we should use government agencies open to scrutiny, instead of buck passing responsibility for this to cowboys.

  20. Paul Walter:

    Maybe you could try cornflakes, wheat biscuits or quick oats instead of the toast sometimes. Add a bit of processed or unprocessed bran for extra fibre at minimal cost.

    There’s huge competition for high fibre cereals when they’re on special. Come to think of it, there’s huge competition for ANYTHING on special these days, which is a sure sign of a society doing it tough.

    I have to wonder what Serco serves on Christmas Island …. maybe the cheaper cereals as above, and a bit of canned fruit.

  21. Today I saw Scott Morrison (Coalition) do the National Press Club address on Immigration.

    According to him, 70% of migrants coming to Australia are currently unskilled workers. It would appear that the Labor government is actively preventing them from obtaining citizenship so they can be financially exploited in the workplace for as long as possible, and also used to hold wages down.

    He said the government has trained lots of migrants as chefs and cooks, but once they get their citizenship, they leave that kind of work behind them. I think this tells us that they are being overworked and underpaid, which is the main reason there are few Aussie workers interested in those jobs. I think we could say the same thing is happening in Aged Care.

    The government not only seems to want to rip visa holders off, but to rob them blind in our universities, prevent them from earning sufficient income to pay their household bills, before eventually sending many of them back where they came from. Most of the visa holders I have spoken with say they are often also being subjected to racist comments.

    I think visa holders should be encouraged to join unions, and all workers should stand together and present a united front against workplace exploitation.

    Scott Morrison said the number of 457 visa holders has dropped to 12% of the total. In resource-rich Queensland and WA, the number of 457 visas has been cut by 50%, due to the actions of unions. (This seemed okay to me, because I think that all workers are entitled to a fair rate of pay for a full week’s work. In our abattoirs, some Aussies are only getting a couple of shifts per week, while 457 visa holders from Brazil and China are fully employed.)

    From memory, he said only 40% of visa holders are now also students.

  22. Noted, Ken.

    Actually, that could be the answer to the Christmas Is cow & milk crisis. Soy beans! I’m sure they’d do well there. The island could become a paradise awash with soymilk, mock meat, miso and tofu.

    Plenty of fibre in those little beans too.

  23. well feral you got it in one againe christmas was a paradise untill they build the new now transfer centre there
    david attinborugh once discribed it as the golapicas island of the indian ocean now no one wants to go there because of what this govt has done or should that be not done .

    may i sugest that y stand when you talk y seem to be muffling y voice

    have to wonder what Serco serves on Christmas Island

    well lorikeet the serve whatever there gests want
    iv herd from very reliable sorses that if they dont like what is served to them it is thrown into the ceiling fans .
    try that little trick when you are out for a meal next time and see how you get on.

  24. Red Crab: Serco will serve Serco. No surprises there.

    As for Christmas Is. being paradise lost, I’m sure that phosphate mining and army ants are the decisive factors in distancing Adam & Eve from Eden, rather than anything recent governments have done. And I’m pretty confident that David Attenborough would wholeheartedly concur with that.

  25. I think the UN is ignoring conflicts in various poorer countries, so they can continue with the plan to redistribute populations & wealth worldwide through the UNHRC and WTO.

    Labor signed away many of our sovereign rights to the UN decades ago, including decisions regarding Immigration and Trade.

    Labor and Liberals keep passing the ball back and forth to disguise the fact they are working to a common agenda. For example, Howard (Liberals) built the Christmas Island facility which sat virtually empty, while Labor complained loud and long about the huge cost of maintaining an offshore detention centre.

    Then when Labor regained power, they threw the floodgates open to fill the facility to bursting point, then had to re-open onshore facilities and even use army barracks to accommodate the masses.

    The UN has decided that the best way to fleece the whole world is to ensure that warfare continues and those who can afford it can flee to the western/developed nations, where they can be financially “shorn” with increasing taxation e.g.

    Water Tax
    Flood Tax
    Carbon Tax
    Waste Tax

    The Macquarie Bank will commence collecting Traffic Fines in every Australian state in June 2011, using the latest speed cameras which are operational from 400 metres.

    I don’t believe there is a plan to extend a Carbon Tax to third world participants. Once our government has driven the remainder of our manufacturing industries offshore, the poor peoples of the third world will be decimated by pollution, while we get taxed into financial oblivion.

    As for lentils being served by Serco, this is a definite possibility. Corporate greed will probably ensure they serve the cheapest possible food, no matter how unpalatable.

    The government may even instruct Serco to orchestrate a wholesale uprising on an unprecedented scale, by serving some kind of food the people won’t eat.

    This will clear detention centres quickly so that more displaced people can be accommodated and eventually fleeced.

  26. the feral abacus
    to a point i agree with you
    when the govt has had enough of there troubles there and they leave the people of christmas island will be left with a devistated tourist industry and phosphate mining and its posible the govt in its wisdom will cut the mining leases
    when the dust settles and there is no more use for them what will our leaders do then .
    il tell you as they did for the ppl there who tried to help ppl out of the water NOTHING.

    small note get your facts rite the ants are called crazy ants not amy ants
    and phoshate minning the community there dose not have much elce to rely on they dont get much income from the new transfer centre .

    but not to worry the govt is running out of options in w.a.

    mabe the govt will do what they should have been doing all the time accomadate the new arrivals where they want to be and should be
    syd melb and brissy .

  27. David Attenborough. What a beaut surprise to turn the idot box on on Sunday and find him up a sixty metre tree in the tropical rainforest.
    He’s contributed as much to my life as anyone I can think of- a beautiful bloke and one of the best of our age.

  28. have to agree with you there paul walter not too many ppl like him left in the world now
    and for a bloke his 80s hes doing prity good
    only hope that i mite have just a small amount of his energy as i get older .
    anyway back to the subject as govts seem hellbent on doing the will of the companys over the interest of australia and bring in workers rather than train there own ppl when the minning in qld and w.a has adown turn and the 457visa holders and there fammilys that have come want to stay with NO work for them then we will see if migration was a good thing.

    have you ever seen locasts migrating paul i have! you know whats left when they leave gess so when the companys and the govt over populate oz and the companys leave for better placses to plunder .

    just how do you suggest that australia feeds its people .

    dont say the same way we have for 100 years because you need fuel to farm you need fuel to pump water there will be very little because this country is obsesed with walking the world stage and trying to sold the worlds problems .
    so when are we going to get a real govt with vision its not this one
    lets have a carbon tax tets get more people here so the govt gets more tax .

    lets look at this subject from a different angle the world is over populated now so it dosent mater where people go the world is still over populated why you ask ( grass ) and the abillity of people to harvest it .water and the abillity to store it
    have a look at the middle east for thousands of years these ppl lived in the desert there population was determined buy the amount of avalible food and WATER now ad oil and wealth which lead to a population explsion. now think what would happen if the world suddenly went to alternitave energy which has been avalible for sum time and have not much use for oil
    what happens to the ppl who have nothing left but dessert a small amount of water and too many ppl to feed…

  29. Red Crab:

    I think you should stop listening to the doomsayers. Without a strong immigration program, Australia’s population will fall from 23 to 7 million by 2050. This will be the ongoing effect of overuse of contraception.

    Once the current middle aged and elderly people of China pass on, the population will drop markedly, because they had a One Child Policy for 30 years which has decimated their Age Pyramid.

    The main reason people are starving is because despotic regimes purchase weapons to blow each other away instead of buying and growing food.

    Most alternative forms of energy (solar, wind, tide) cannot provide baseload power e.g.

    a month of rain = no power
    no wind = no power
    ocean as still as a mill pond = no power

    The DLP has a scientist with an interest in newer forms of nuclear energy using less radioactive substances (Thorium, Helium), and Nuclear Fusion instead of Nuclear Fission. Fusion unites atoms. Fission divides them.

    If the government fleeces all of the people (migrants, refugees and citizens) with a Carbon Tax, the money will not remain in Australia. It will instead form a large part of the wealth which will be redistributed across the world using an undemocratic process.

  30. lorikeet
    i have to disagree with you i think that with this assult on our population buy the govt will only leed to problems
    buy 2050 there could be very little water here with out water just how many ppl do you think this county can hold .
    as for power there are alternatives its only that we have become adicted to 240vots
    just emagine if the plug was pulled
    where is our govt why are we not looking to protect ourselves aginest that situation happening

    i have had a thought i think te carbon tax beat up will fizzle out
    i think the govt is playing smoke and mirrors to deflect interest away from other issues and they are doing a good job at it to
    iv seen it many times before

    the govt is setting up accomidation for the ppl who are comming in tassie
    its your turn next they are running out of options and will soon have to exept the situation and place them in the main three states .

    then with them spread all over the place it will be interesting to see how they keep control
    they dont have much now .

  31. Red Crab:

    The government doesn’t really want to have any control in the shorter term. They are hoping to stir up as many religious and racial tensions as possible, so they can simply legislate away some of the freedoms which comprise the cornerstones of democracy.

    Then everyone will have to believe in the new corporate religion, and become part of the human race (to the bottom).

    As for your concerns about water, the planet is simply brimming with oceans and rivers full of water. The amount can neither increase nor decrease, because the planet is a fully self-contained unit.

    With water grids and dams in place to move and store rainfall from the northern tropics to service much drier areas, regional centres will grow and thrive with the proper government incentives and infrastructure programs.

    I think the issues the government is currently deflecting attention away from could probably be their plans to corporatise hospitals and schools, to tax the churches out of existence, make people responsible for managing their own superannuation, and make further contributions to an Old Age Fund.

    All of these plans will further empower large banking corporations over government and people.

    What do you think?

    I still think they intend to push a Carbon Tax, followed by a Waste Tax about 6 months later.

  32. Dear Andrew, you claimed that migrants create more income than they cost to the government, I suggest you are wrong. At the moment we have a $770b shortfall in infrastructure, a figure that has been growing in proportion to population growth. We now import $9b worth of food, also increasing while our food exports are decreasing and will continue to do so as more agricultural land is swallowed by urban sprawl or mining. To suggest that our impact on the environment is solely due to lifestyle is missing half the equation, if we half our consumption it would be overtaken by population growth in 40 years.

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