Skilled Migrants Do Add To Australia's Wealth

19:55' 17-04-2018
A recent paper produced jointly by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs shows that skilled migrants make a real contribution to Australias wealth, and will add up to one per cent to annual average GDP growth over the next thirty years.

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    The research throws a different light on debate last month about whether to cut immigration levels from the present annual cap of 190,000.

    Last month's debate was in response to a report by non-partisan think tank Grattan Institute on the nation's housing crisis. The report accused both state and federal governments of concentrating on short-term solutions, with little or no long-term effectiveness, and made 13 policy recommendations.

    Most of the recommendations were for changes in planning regulations, which Grattan Institute's Chief Executive John Daley says do not meet the housing needs of Australia's growing population.

    Without the recommended changes, the report said, the government's best alternative would be to cut back on immigration. However, this was taken up by many as if it were a main recommendation.

    The Treasury and Home Affairs paper does not deny that high rates of population growth can heighten pressure on infrastructure and housing, but warns of lower economic growth unless current rates of migration are maintained. The report also dismisses the common belief that migrants cost Australian taxpayers money in welfare, noting they are more likely to be taxpayers themselves.

    Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of Settlement Services International, also acknowledges there were planning pressures in the big cities, but adds, “We must remember that migrants come to Australia with high levels of social and economic capital and a strong willingness to contribute and, further, have shaped modern Australia since World War II.”

    Ms Roumeliotis also pointed out that, in general, Australians have “consistently supported national policies on migration and a multicultural society”.

    The ABC has created an interactive graph, which lets you alter levels of migration, fertility, and life expectancy to see the effects on Australia for the rest of the century. The graph is at www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-13/big-australia-or-small-australia-you-decide-our-population/9470156?

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Keywords: australia's wealthgdp growthskilled migrants

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