Posted on 2018-04-27 16:28:38.000000
The future prosperity of Australia’s labour market hinges on the participation of immigrants and refugees. Meet the entrepreneurs and start-ups upskilling these groups.
Contrary to the views being espoused in the lead up to the election, the future prosperity of Australia’s labour market hinges on the participation of immigrants and refugees.
Economic sociologist and Monash University lecturer, E rin Watson-Lynn, tells SBS that migrants and refugees drive “The Three Ps” of economic growth: “population, participation, and productivity”.
More than a quarter of Australia’s population was born overseas, and 45 percent of the entire population has at least one parent born overseas, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australian migrants and refugees are more likely to be below the age of 40, “meaning they are prime working age,” says Erin. But “labour market outcomes for refugees are worse than for other immigrants, including lower labour force participation rates and higher unemployment rates.”
Refugees driving the economy
The cost-benefit of upskilling Australian refugees and migrants is not simply a financial incentive, but an economic imperative according to Erin Watson-Lynn.
“Our current birth rate simply does not meet the required replacement rate. It places enormous strain on the public health system, because of an increased dependency ratio,” she says.
“There is actually a risk if we don’t bring in migrants. The dependency ratio is increasing dramatically because of the aging population; we have to be able to replace these people in the labour market; we have to have taxpayers to support the standard of living we currently enjoy in this country. That is what the risk comes down to.”
The Australian government spends $250 billion a year on social disadvantage, according to The Centre for Social Impact.
“Even I can tell you that’s the worst return on anyone’s investment,” says Innovation Consultant and former public servant Anne-Marie Elias.
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