ABS figures show positive immigration impact on employment

Date: Feb 22, 2012

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have shown how the renewed focus on skilled migration has had a positive impact on the local workforce.

The ratio of people in the workforce in possession of an "academic or trade qualification" has risen over the last decade, from 51 per cent in 2001 to 59 per cent in 2011.

These include people aged between 15 and 65 in the relevant years and are not restricted by the country of origin for the course provider.

This shift has been shown at least in part, to be the result of a shift in migration policy, with sponsorship arrangements becoming focused on skilled workers.

In turn this has seen the number of migrants in the country in possession of a diploma, certificate or degree also increase from around 15 per cent before 1991 to over 44 per cent in 2006.

As the ABS notes, having a qualification can make a large difference to employment prospects, with 7.3 per cent of those without tertiary education unemployed, compared to a rate of 3.4 per cent for those with a certification above secondary grade.

In particular, this capacity is useful in gaining a new role, with over one quarter of ABS respondents indicating that the main impact of their education was to land them their first job - while a further nine per cent said it was directly responsible for a promotion or salary increase.

Overall, 66 per cent of migrants in Australia in 2011 were in possession of a tertiary qualification, compared to 56 per cent of residents born here.

This difference helps to demonstrate both the difficulties faced by modern businesses when sourcing local workers and the effect of the DIAC's shift in sponsorship policy.

Of the 11.2 million individuals employed in Australia in 2011, the ABS says that 51 per cent were in roles that reflected the nature of their qualification.

These figures help to show that the careful selection of skilled migrant workers is having a measurable impact on the quality of the workforce available to local firms.

While the full extent of the flow-on effect from the two-speed economy is yet to be realised by some industries, other peak bodies have expressed grave concerns over their future viability as the local labour markets become increasingly competitive.

With a migration lawyer, businesses are able to explore their international hiring options in full, gaining advice on the type of visas that may be suitable to their situation and the details of the submissions process.