Rather than imported labour, why doesn’t Australia invest in Australians?

Business calls for a massive increase in skilled migration reflect an addiction to the mindset of using cheap foreign labour to keep wages suppressed — and will guarantee persistent housing unaffordability.

construction industry economy

You couldn’t get a better example of how addicted to bad policy and old ideas Australian business is than yesterday’s effort from major employer group the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

It wants skilled migration to be doubled to 200,000 a year to address “skill shortages”. It was immaculate timing, given that Reserve Bank released the minutes of its October board meeting yesterday morning. The Bank noted:

Even in industries that had experienced strong labour demand, wages growth remained subdued. In reviewing wages growth across different types of wage-setting arrangements, members noted that a small share of people on individual agreements had received larger wage increases over recent quarters, in part reflecting earlier wage cuts that had been reversed. Overall, there were few indications from disaggregated wages data or from the bank’s liaison program to suggest that aggregate wages growth was likely to accelerate sharply in the period ahead.

How will a surge in temporary migration affect the labour market? Keep reading.

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