CALLS FOR MORE IMMIGRATION MUST BE RESISTED
Despite the problems brought on by the Covid crisis the usual suspects are hoping for a return to the high immigration levels we had before the crisis. NSW Premier Dom (or should that be Dumb) Perrottet even suggested the intake double that we had before Covid hit.
Actually, going on the figures from Home Affairs website they have been continuing to issue visas for permanent migrants at the rate of previous years hence once Covid restrictions on entry to this country are removed there will be a flood of immigrants. Unlike previous years however the immigration visas are not heavily biased towards those with skills but include more people in the family reunion and child streams. (1) This seems a bit strange considering one of the excuses for flooding the country with migrants is that we need more skilled workers. Even this excuse is a bit dubious or reflects badly on how we select migrants as we have had a migrant program that for years, in fact for decades, which is supposed to be supplying us with skilled workers.
No doubt as people again flood into this country there will be an increased demand for housing and consumer goods and services. The already ridiculous cost of housing can be expected to rise and there will also be a demand for workers to produce the housing, infrastructure, along with other goods and services which in turn will lead to demands for more skilled immigrants. It starts to look like a Ponzi scheme.
As pointed out in previous issues our economy can grow without immigration. Last financial year the Australian economy grew 9.5%, at least according to the Trading Economics website, while net overseas migration was minus 88,800. Due to a natural increase of 134,800 however, our population grew by 0.2% to reach 25,739,256. (2) Meanwhile our current account is positive and increasing, our balance of trade is positive and our foreign debt went down in the September quarter, as it did in the March quarter. (3)
Despite claims immigration has a positive effect on productivity, the truth is that over the last decade or so the rate of productivity improvement in Australia, like most advanced economies has slowed to a snail’s pace. (4)
Then there are the social problems like crime. A recent drop in homicides has been put down to the lockdowns and the Covid crisis. It could have however also be due to the slowdown in immigration.
A media release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the number of prisoners in our jails has increased. The number on remand rose by 16% but those sentenced actually fell by 1%. (5)
ABS figures show the number of overseas born in our jails has decreased, possibly down to 15.72% of the total number of prisoners. The figures also show that 2,531 out of 35,275 Australian born prisoners are in for homicide and related offences, which works out at 7.17%. They also show that 761 out of 6,757 overseas born prisoners are in for homicide offences and this works out at 11.26%. Even prisoners born in the United Kingdom had much higher likelihood of being in jail for homicide. The statistics therefore show migrant prisoners are more likely to be in jail for homicide so it would seem the fewer migrants the fewer homicides. And at least five migrant nationalities, namely those from Vietnam, Tonga, Samoa, Somalia and Sudan, have higher imprisonment rates than Australians. (6)
NSW statistics on where crime is occurring also shows the effect of non-European immigration. In the twelve months ending September 2021 the state’s homicide fell 1.4 to 1.0 per 100,000 of population, a drop of 27.7%. Two of the most “multicultural” areas of the city also saw a drop; in the case of Bankstown Local Government Area (LGA) the rate dropped from 2.4 to 1.3 and in the Cumberland LGA which includes the notorious suburb of Auburn the rate fell from 3.7 to 2.1. Parramatta bucked the trend and rose to 1.6 homicides per 100,000. (7) What’s noticeable is that the rates in these areas noted for the large proportion of immigrants are quite higher than the state figures.
If and when migrants start to flood into Australia again we should not expect an improvement in the economy but an increase in crime and other social problems.
The 2020-21 Migration Program Report shows 79,620 migration places in the Skill stream, 77,372 in the Family stream, 3,006 in the Child stream, and 54 in the Special Eligibility stream. The total number of places was 160,052. In previous years about two-thirds of the intake was in the Skills stream. (8)
Figures on GDP growth from the ABS show slightly different figures to those on the Trading Economics website but all quarterly figures over the 2020-2021 financial year are positive and total over 9%. In the quarter ending September 2021 the economy went backwards by 1.9% but for the twelve months ending September the growth was a positive 3.9%. (9)
(1) Australian Department of Home Affairs, “2020-21 Migration Program Report”
(2) Trading Economics website; Australian Bureau of Statistics, www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-t...
(4) Shamar Saggar, “Five Traps for Those Arguing in Favour of Big Australia”, The Australian, 14 January 2022; Ross Gittins, “Time to Look At The Many Ways to Stifle Productivity”, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 January 2022
(6) Australian Bureau of Statistics, 45170DO001/2_2021 Prisoners in Australia, 2021
(7) NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, crimetool.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/bocsar
(8) Australian Department of Home Affairs, “2020-21 Migration program Report”
(9) Australian Bureau of Statistics, www.abs.gov.au/statistics/national-accounts/australia...