Follow Up to Birrell’s Immigration Report
In response to Bob Birrell’s report on immigration (see below), I read with interest this letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:
Migration myths have cost plenty
I wish to congratulate William Bourke for his article exposing the myths behind the need for skilled migration in Australia. (”More bills than skills from this migration”, July 19).
From 1981 to 1996 I worked as a manager in Sydney for the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) and then Centrelink to 2008. In both organisations, on a daily basis, I dealt with migrants, including issues, policies and welfare expenditures arising from these migrants.
One of my many roles as a manager in the CES and in its professional employment service was to provide monthly labour market reports to senior management and to process Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) applications – where employers applied to bring in people to Australia with skills that they said were not available here. I rejected many of the ENS applications on the basis that I thought there were suitable people already in the county – only to discover in many cases that some months later the then Department of Immigration had ignored my refusal of the employer’s application and that the nominee had duly arrived and was now unemployed and on unemployment benefits. Civil engineers and accountants were regular standouts in this class. Once they arrived, Australian employers discovered their overseas-gained skills and qualifications weren’t suitable after all.
Out of sheer frustration I contacted the manager of the ENS section of the Department of Immigration to ask why applications I had refused based on labour market demand and supply had been ignored by Immigration. The response was very Yes Minister; employers had a right to bring these people in, I was told.
I have often wondered over the years what the real cost of immigration has been and will be to Australia. Just how much taxpayer money has been expended through all levels of government as a result of importing people we did not need, ranging from all welfare outlays, education outlays, health system overload, urban sprawl and related environmental destruction, to the legal system outlays of all types?
Stephen King Currumbin (Qld)