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Does Australia need more migrations?

Based on the findings this week's Guardian Essential Report, the Australian politicians have agreed on the importance of temporary work visas in Australia.

The majority of Australian politicians believe that the temporary work visa holders should be used to cover genuine skills shortages.

There are clear markers in these findings that people see value in work visas to fill gaps in skills but not at the expense of local jobs. Critically, the principle of “same job, same pay” is endorsed across voting segments.

In the latest Guardian Essential survey, more than half of respondents (52%) say migration levels are either too low or about right, while 37% say too high, and 11% are undecided. Just over half the sample (51%) agrees that immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy (20% are opposed that view).

But 63% of respondents also believe that increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure (only 11% disagreed).

While half the Guardian Essential sample (50%) thinks boosting immigration will help businesses recover from the economic shock of the pandemic by giving them the skilled labour they need (22% disagree) – a majority of respondents are evidently not convinced that immigration helps Australia deal with skills shortages as the population ages (only 49% agree with that proposition and 22% disagreed).

Back in July, Australia’s central bank governor, Philip Lowe, suggested Australia’s high levels of immigration were a contributing factor to prolonged weak wages growth. Just under half of poll respondents (48%) agreed with the statement: “Increasing immigration levels would create more competition for jobs and slow wage growth” (21% disagree).

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