Grattan Institute says union demands to cap temporary skilled migrant pay threshold would hurt health and education workers

Economic policy program director Brendan Coates said a $70,000 threshold was high enough to reduce the risk of worker exploitation, but low enough not to stifle essential workers in poverty-dependent sectors. temporary migration.

“A TSMIT of $70,000 would ensure that key workers like teachers, nurses, kinder teachers and allied health professionals like physical therapists would still be eligible for temporary sponsorship,” Coates said.

“While a $90,000 salary threshold would eliminate up to half of all healthcare workers in Australia on temporary sponsorship, including up to 89% of nurses and a third of all workers education with TSS visas.”

Coates said a $90,000 threshold was inappropriate because that was the average salary of a full-time worker, who was on average 41 years old, while the typical skilled temporary sponsored migrant was 31.

“Thus, a threshold of $90,000 risks weeding out many young sponsored temporary workers who earn well above average wages as permanent sponsored migrants as they age and gain more experience,” he said. Mr Coates.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has previously said the $53,900 threshold is not indicative of skilled migration, with around 80% of full-time jobs earning above that level.

Mr Coates said any figure below $70,000 would expose workers to exploitation.

“Those sponsored workers who start earning less than $70,000 see little or no wage growth while in Australia – a clear sign that they lack bargaining power and outside options,” he said. -he declares.

Mr Coates said a $70,000 TSMIT would have little effect on sectors such as elderly care and childcare, where most migrants are permanent visa holders or students and vacationers-workers.

The federal government has launched a major review of Australia’s immigration settings, with lists of skilled occupations at risk and hundreds of visa subcategories set to be scrapped.

Home Secretary Clare O’Neil has said an overhaul of the ‘Byzantine mess’ is badly needed, but the review panel will not consider whether the one-off increase in permanent immigration to Australia at 195,000 should be extended.

Asked if Labor would consider proposals to replace the skills list with an $85,000 salary threshold for permanent skilled migrants, Ms O’Neil said it was all on the table.

The expert group will present its provisional findings to the government on February 28 next year.

A final strategy will be presented by May, with scope for the group to expand its work and support implementation if its recommendations are adopted.

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