Tuesday March 26 2013

Increased need for immigration of foreign workers to Australia

Australia, 14th December: Australia needs immigration of foreign workers in order to raise the productivity of the nation through big infrastructure projects.

This has been stated by Peter McDonald, a leading demographer of Australia.

There is an increased need for considering outsourcing of big infrastructure projects in the nation to foreign workers keeping in mind the high cost of getting the work done through Australian workforce. What he seems to suggest is that immigrant workers should be hired for work at major projects at comparatively lower wages than the domestic Australians.

Professor McDonald, who is also the director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University, stated that the Australian government must be ready to outsource public projects including major city transport construction projects, ports and interstate rail to global tender and allow the successful bidder to employ their own workforce for doing the  job.

However, McDonald asserted on restricting such outsourcing to discrete huge projects only where the quality of the work will be checked by Australian engineers and will be in accordance with the occupational health as well as safety standards of the nation.

He clarified that in case the government does not open up on outsourcing major infrastructure projects, it will be very difficult for such projects to happen primarily due to high costs of labor in Australia.

While referring to the lack of urban transit systems in major Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne, McDonald said that a two-lane freeway is not there between these two cities and this is what makes Australia a developing nation, and not a developed one.

He accepted the fact that such an idea to get the work on infrastructure projects in Australia through outsourcing will be resisted by unions in the nation, however, he stated that onus lies on the Australian government to give priority to higher productivity especially the nation will see restricted economic growth in the wake of aging workforce in the coming years.

According to a renowned Australian publication, there has been a decline in the overseas migration by 25 percent to bring the figures down to 241,400 in the year 2010 to March after touching a record high in the year 2008. And this decline can be attributed to strict Australian student visa norms, tough competition from the UK and the US for intake of overseas students and changes in the criteria for general skilled immigration program of Australia.

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