Australia – a mosaic of migrants

If you have ever been to any of the bigger Australian cities, you will know what it means. Over a hundred of language spoken, people of every race, colour and about 200 nationalities, all in one country. Australia is a magnet for immigrants.

More than half of them (51%) are skilled workers, but there are other substantial categories, like families re-joining their relations (24%), students or humanitarian entrants. They come from all over the world, but obviously over the last half-century countries providing most workers have changed. In the 1960s and 1970s a lot of migrants came from the Balkans, whilst since the 1980s it’s Asia that provides more. Currently, the top six countries are New Zealand, UK and Ireland, China, India, Philippines and Malaysia.

countries australia

(click to enlarge)

Every year Australia accepts a pre-defined number of immigrants to strengthen the economy with the most useful workers – young, healthy, English-speaking, educated, skilled and often quite wealthy. Its demographic future will heavily depend on workers coming from overseas. Although the annual growth has been on the uptake again since 2011, over the last few years its major components was NOM instead of the natural increase which is declining. NOM (Net Overseas Migration) which is the measure of permanent and temporary (long stay) arrivals, less permanent and temporary (long stay) departures, in a twelve month period, has been the major contributor, reaching its peak of 66% in 2008-2009 and now providing 58%. This tendency, combined with an ageing society, will force Australia to open even more for workers from abroad in order to keep the working force growing or at least stable.

But the work force is not only flowing in the country; more and more Australians decide to leave their country to work abroad, therefore causing an outflow of skilled workers in their prime years. Over the last 15 years the number of emigrants has more than doubled, making Australia one of the countries with biggest overseas diaspora (comparing its size with the overall population). Main reasons for this phenomenon are wages and a greater chance for success. Within the country there are so many workers  who are highly skilled or specialised that even those most qualifies earn much less in comparison with the USA or Canada. And that is why specialists like managers, businessmen, scientists, lawyers and informatics leave to UK, USA, Greece, New Zealand or Hongkong. Such an outflow is likely to cause severe problems in the service sector in the future.

By Katarzyna Liszka, Martyna Dzido, Aleksandra Pułyk, Patrycja Perzyńska

Source of statistics:–documents/statistics-tables.pdf


Impacts of the Globalization on the Labour Market

Due to the globalization the labour market is not nationally or regionally limited anymore it is globally unlimited. This leads to an enormous increase of labour supply. Living expenses differ significantly from country to country which means that there is a high discrepancy of salary and wages. Consequently foreign branches are  established not only to develop a new business market, but rather to take advantage of the cost benefits in the worldwide production network. This usually occurs with companies taking advantage of low salary for low-level qualified employees. This has brought a labour shift to those countries that have a lower wage. This development in turn browbeat the employees of global competition. In general we can say that the risk of an employee to become redundant is higher the lower his educational level and his level of qualifications.  Another important aspect regarding unemployment in the area of low-level qualified employees is migration. Migration of foreign employees causes additional trouble in the labour market, because migration increases the labour supply in the host country. Due to this development the salaries and prosperity will in some parts of the population of emerging nations increase. This means that in general globalization decreases salary differentials between the countries but increase salary differences within a country. In summary globalization from a global point of view leads to a convergence salary and from a regional point of view to a divergence of salary. The big industrial nations now have to think about strategies to avoid that low-level qualified do not have any chances on the labour market and slide into long-term unemployment. In contrast the newly industrialized countries have to use the new opportunity of the bigger labour supply to increase the standard of life in their own country and to improve the level of qualifications as well.—ed_emp/—emp_elm/documents/publication/wcms_114330.pdf

Three remarks about emigration in Baltics

I think labour emigration from Eastern Europe to West Europe is a natural cause of actions. Although salaries are rising in East, the wage gap is huge and living standard is tempting in West. According to the academic researches (Mandsoor, Quillin, 2006) on average wage cap between 30 to 40 percent is necessary, but not sufficient to change the sign of net migration. Jet in the year 2007 GDP per capita PPP in the Baltic States formed 50 to 60 percent of Sweden’s or UK`s income level. That is one of the explanations for ongoing process of emigration in Baltics. Secondly foreign investors complain over lack of labour is due to the unwillingness to invest into new technologies or using new working methods. For example, huge company producing electronic equipment is closing its branch in Estonia due to the rising labour costs; workers were paid a minimal wage, in the same time the average wage growth in Estonia was 20%. I think high-skilled labour force in Eastern-Europe is more productive and more valued in west. Thirdly, it is not wise to freeze wage level by governments struggling with lack of labour. Interference in integration and convergence might induce emigration even more.

Labor Force Leaving Eastern Europe

I know that we already have some posts about migration in Europe, but I have found another interesting article about the labour force from Eastern Europe leaving the home countries and going to work abroad…Everybody is talking about how the economic situation and living conditions are improving and also new jobs are being created, salaries are rising but in spite of this there are still many people looking for better opporunities in western Europe. In the wake of the departures of the workers are huge labor shortages. For example Slovakia has created an excellent environment for car manufacturing and capacity has increased, but now automobile companies such as Volkswagen and Kia Motors have been unable to find enough skilled workers to assemble the vehicles. Poland and the Baltic states have been unable to meet housing demands due to too few workers. Things are so bad in Poland that President Lech Kaczynski has complained of being unable to find someone to paint his house because all the painters have moved away. After the entry to EU there are not so many restrictions for immigrants from central and eastern Europe to join the labour market in UK or Scandinavian countries. Now the governments are trying to do some measures to fill the gaps, but are stil reluctant to increase wages because it may degrade their attractiveness to foreign investments. Here is the article.


Migration – good for recipient and sending countries?

According to the World Bank in year 2000 36% of migrants in 20th richest countries were highly skilled. Do sending and receiving countries benefit or suffer from high-skilled migration? Without immigrants, ageing societies with low natural birthrate would have to cope with economic slowdown. Especially economies in America and Europe with increasing demand for high-skilled workers and in need for people willing to do hard and unpleasant jobs. Not enough young natives have the right skills or motivation, so the rich must hope that outsiders will keep coming. And they will as long as such wealth differentials persist, the draw will continue. It is more complicated issue in sending countries. Poorer countries could benefit from emigration in general till the natural birthrate is higher than emigration rate, then emigration could lead to lower poverty and higher wage level (examples Belize, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica). Although remittances and new skills are claimed to be beneficial there is no guarantee emigrants will return. Exporting better brains will harm sending economy in long term. Poor and middle-income countries in North-Africa, Pacific and Caribbean region face shortages of skilled workforce, well qualified workforce will emigrate leaving most critical jobs unfilled at home, so there hardly will be potential for economic catch up.See more