Migrants add to skills crisis

April 29, 2008, SMH:

LESS than a third of people from non-English speaking countries who migrate to Australia on skilled workers' visas are gaining work in their fields and many of them are adding to the skills crisis they were brought in to solve, a study has found.

Those who graduated from Australian universities and were assessed as competent by local accrediting authorities were the least likely to find employment relevant to their qualifications, according to the report, "How are skilled migrants doing?", published in today's People And Place.

The authors, Monash University demographers Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy, have called for a freeze on skilled migration while the Government focuses on helping to bring the present crop of migrants up to the standard demanded by professions, in which they are qualified, through bridging courses.

"They're not contributing to the skilled workforce but they're contributing to urban population growth and housing pressure," Professor Birrell said.

Nearly 213,000 people moved to Australia as skilled migrants between 2001 and 2006, almost three-quarters of whom came from non-English speaking countries.

But while the majority of those who migrated from English-speaking countries gained employment in professional or managerial positions, only 29.3 per cent of those from non-English speaking countries did ...
And it also raises the politically incorrect question that maybe some employers just don't want non-English immigrants for professional employees. Maybe employers don't mind immigrants down the bottom of the corporate ladder where they don't have to interact with them. But when it comes to positions of leadership, or team members they have to interact with, well maybe that's a little too close to home. So we have white flight, investor flight, and now do we also have employer flight?

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