Australia has one of the largest temporary migrant workforces among the developed countries in the world.
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) did a special study on temporary migration. The study highlighted a large number of temporary workers working in other countries like the US and Australia.
The Australian Govt. has cut down the immigration intake to 160,000 per year for the next 4 years. The Govt. also aims to redistribute the migrant population among the regional areas of Australia.
However, the OECD report noted that permanent migration is just one part of the total immigration movement.
In 2017, Australia had issued almost 750,000 Work Permits for temporary immigrants. Only the US had issued more Work Permits than Australia.
In comparison to the share in the local working population, Australia is home to the largest international student community in the world. The OECD report stated that international students account for more than 0.4% of the total working population.
The only country which has a higher proportion of working holidaymakers than Australia is New Zealand. As per the OECD report, if the working holidaymakers worked for the entire duration of their stay in Australia, it would increase the total working population by 1.7%.
Considering the restrictions on temporary migration, the temporary migrant sector In Australia accounts for 200,350 full-time jobs. This makes up almost 1.6% of the Australian workforce, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.
Stefano Scarpetta is the Director of employment, labour and social affairs, OECD. He said that it is crucial that the Australian Govt. understands the costs and benefits of migration are spread unevenly across a community.
Mr Scarpetta said that low-skilled immigrants are often concentrated in poor urban areas. This could be a hurdle in them integrating into local communities of Australia. He further said that it is important that the Govt. understands the impact of uneven distribution of migration. It is vital that the Govt. identify who are the winners and who are the losers. The losers should be compensated and policies should be made to minimize the negative impacts.
The OECD report also found that migrants in Australia have the same job prospects as the local Australians.
The unemployment rate of European migrants in Australia is at 4% which is down from 4.5% in 2013. The employment rate of European migrants in Australia is 77.9% while that of Australian workers is 74.9%.
In the recent 5 years, the unemployment rate of all immigrants has fallen to 5.2%. In comparison, the unemployment rate of Australian workers is at 5.4%.
However, certain immigrant communities are missing out on employment prospects. North African immigrants and those from the Middle East have an unemployment rate of 10.7%. Their employment rate also is just 50.9%. The unemployment rate of immigrants from sub-Sahara Africa has increased to 6.9% since 2013.
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