Economic modelling undertaken by CEDA in its latest research report has found that immigration to Australia has not harmed the jobs and earnings of local workers.

CEDA’s report, Effects of temporary migration, examines the impact of immigration and recent trends in temporary migration including temporary skilled migration, CEDA CEO, Melinda Cilento said.

“There are currently around two million people in Australia on temporary visas including students, working holiday makers, skilled workers and New Zealand citizens. This is a significant number that should be well understood, transparently managed and appropriately factored into community planning,” she said.

“CEDA’s report has found that migration to Australia in recent decades has been positive for the labour market, and the outcomes from temporary skill migration were particularly positive,” Ms Cilento said.

“CEDA’s analysis shows that temporary skilled migration is critical in delivering benefits to business, the economy more broadly and to the existing workforce.

“However, concerns about the impacts of temporary skilled migration have been raised consistently resulting in frequent changes to the scheme, including most recently the abolition of the 457 visa class.

“Our research has found that key concerns around temporary skilled migration, such as impacts on local workers as a result of visas such as the 482 and its predecessor the 457, are unfounded.

“The average base salary for a skilled temporary visa holder is quite high at $95,000, meaning these workers are unlikely to undercut local employment terms and conditions.

“In addition, they are a small group, with temporary skilled migrants of working age accounting for less than one per cent of Australia’s labour force.

“However, often unpredictable change to this visa category has come at the cost of undermining the ability of business to undertake workforce planning with certainty.

“At a time when more businesses are finding it difficult to source the skills they need, strengthening and providing greater transparency and certainty around temporary skilled migration would support business investment and productivity.

“Temporary migrants also contribute to the economy by paying taxes and spending in the communities in which they live, increasing demand for goods and services and supporting local economic activity and jobs.”

Ms Cilento said while CEDA’s research confirms the positive impact of temporary skilled migration it was important to ensure that the broader community had confidence in the system and that the training levies paid by businesses recruiting skilled migrants were being effectively used to build in demand skills locally.

“CEDA’s report recommends changes to improve transparency and efficiency in the temporary skilled migration system to deliver the dual benefits of improving community confidence in the system and ensuring business can access the skills they need,” she said.

“Skilled migration supports business investment and productivity which are vital for keeping our economy strong.

“Incomes in Australia have been stagnant and lifting productivity can help lift incomes across the community.”

Ms Cilento said there are actions that can be taken immediately to improve the system and make it easier for businesses to get the skills they need now and in the future:
Increasing transparency of data and methods used in determining professions for the skilled occupation list;
Ensuring occupation codes used to assess skill shortages align with evolving labour trends to ensure temporary skilled migration is responsive to emerging skill needs;
Introducing a dedicated path for intra-company transfer of employees to Australia; and
Better aligning the Skilling Australia Fund Levy to alleviate the skill shortages driving the need for skilled migration.
“If CEDA’s recommendations are implemented, the system will be more responsive to the needs of the economy. It will also reduce reliance on low quality instruments like labour market testing to ensure that genuine skills shortages are being filled,” she said.

Ms Cilento said as a mid-sized economy far away from global markets, the importance to our economic success of free movement of goods, services, investment and skills can’t be understated.

“Australia will continue to need temporary skilled migration to fill periodic and emerging skill shortages,” she said.

“We need to make it easier for business to import the best global talent and expertise, and Australia’s temporary skilled migration system is our gateway for global talent.

“Temporary migration also lifts the skills of the broader workforce through the transfer of knowledge and expertise and by introducing new skills, in some instances enabling Australia to build critical new workforces, for example the growing cyber security industry in Australia.”

Additional recommendations in CEDA’s report include:
Establishing an independent committee to undertake analysis and consultation on the formulation of skilled occupation lists, mirroring the model used in the UK.
Tasking the Productivity Commission with a review of the temporary skilled visa program on a regular cycle every three or five years.
Moving the point of levy collection to the visa approval stage rather than visa nomination.
“Improving predictability of the scheme and increasing understanding among the wider community of the benefits to all Australians, will help deliver a fair and efficient system,” she said.

Ms Cilento said other key findings of the report include that only 16 per cent of those on student visas stay permanently, while temporary skilled visas have provided a de facto path to permanent residency for a significant proportion of those migrants.

“This ‘try before you buy’ approach to permanent residency is a positive for the individual and Australia,” she said.

“Both the individual and the employer have the opportunity to see if the ‘fit’ is right before making a longer term decision.

“Recent changes to the 482 visa, previously the 457 visa, may have disrupted this de facto pipeline and it will be worth monitoring the impact this has on the quality of temporary skilled visa holders over coming years.”

The launch of this report will be followed by events across Australia on the following dates:
Sydney 23 July | Melbourne 24 July | Adelaide 26 July | Brisbane 31 July | Perth 31 July

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Western Sydney City Deal to deliver rail, investment and jobs

The Turnbull and Berejiklian governments and eight Western Sydney councils have today agreed a landmark Western Sydney City Deal - a co-ordinated plan designed to deliver long-term prosperity for the region.
This deal will deliver for Western Sydney:
·         A North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport
·         A world-class Aerotropolis including Commonwealth-owned land at North Bringelly
·         An Investment Attraction Office to attract investment to the Western Parkland City
·         New planning regime for Western Sydney to cut development costs and boost housing supply
·         A $150m Western Parkland City Liveability Program to deliver community facilities
·         New STEM-focussed education facilities to train skilled workers needed for the Aerotropolis
·         A plan to embed smart digital technology in the Western City
Rail
The Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments have jointly committed to the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport.
The Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments have a joint objective of having rail connected to the Western Sydney Airport in time for the opening of the airport.
The two governments have agreed that they will construct the North South Rail Link as equal partners, each contributing 50 per cent of the funding.
Both governments will each commit $50 million for a business case on the full North South rail line to finalise a route and station locations, building on the evidence base of the joint Rail Needs Scoping Study, also released today. A market sounding process will test private sector interest in station developments and explore innovative financing solutions.
The North South rail line will help shape Western Sydney’s growth and support thousands of new jobs and homes for Western Sydney. It delivers on our commitment to build the Western Parkland City into Sydney’s third economic centre, adding much-needed rail capacity that will improve access to employment, education and services, including at the new Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis.
The NSW Government will also establish rapid bus services from the metropolitan centres of Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown to the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis and to Western Sydney Airport before it opens.
Aerotropolis
The parties commit to delivering a world-class Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis to become Western Sydney’s advanced manufacturing, research, medical, education and commercial hub, benefiting from access to the Western Sydney Airport.
This will drive new investment and attract high value jobs to the region. Land owned by the Commonwealth at North Bringelly will form part of the Aerotropolis.
To enable development of the Aerotropolis an Aerotropolis Development Authority will be established with NSW and Commonwealth representation on the board
Investment Attraction
The NSW Government will establish an Investment Attraction office to coordinate the attraction of national and international investment to the Western Parkland City and the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis. The Investment Attraction Office will be located in Liverpool.
Planning
There will be a new streamlined planning regime for Western Sydney, to be led by councils through a new Planning Partnership.  Accelerated planning and uniform standards will reduce cost for development, boost housing supply and protect airport operations.
Liveability
A new Western Parkland City Liveability Program will provide grant funding to local governments to deliver community facilities and amenities that will enable new housing supply. The Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments will each contribute $60m and local councils will contribute $30m.
Education
New STEM-focussed secondary, vocational and tertiary education facilities will be established around Western Sydney Airport to train the skilled workers needed for the high-tech sectors to be established at the Aerotropolis, as well as to construct the airport and other major projects.
Technology
A 5G strategy for the Western City will be developed, with plans to implement a trial to be led by a telecommunications carrier.
Agribusiness Precinct

The NSW Government will commission a feasibility study into an agribusiness precinct for the Western Parkland City.

These City Deal commitments will help realise the aspiration of a 30-minute city for Western Sydney, bringing people closer to jobs, education and services to ensure this growing region, its economy and its residents thrive.
The City Deal sets out a comprehensive plan to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity created by the Turnbull Government’s delivery of the $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport. It will ensure that the people of Western Sydney see clear and tangible benefits as Western Sydney develops into an economic powerhouse.
This landmark deal will deliver investment, transport and jobs for Western Sydney.
The Western Sydney City Deal is a ground-breaking partnership between the Turnbull and Berejiklian Governments and local governments of Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Penrith, Wollondilly, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Fairfield.
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