Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The migrants Australia don't hunt down

We have grown accustomed to the tragic news of the migrant boat-people and their desperate attempts to reach the safety and security of Australia, which the Australian government is determined to frustrate.

But little appears to be said about the “flood”, as the BBC puts it, of  young Europeans on temporary working visas is squeezing young Australians out of the jobs market. Most arrive on one-year working holiday permits, which can be extended or upgraded to longer employment visas that can lead to residency and eventually citizenship although the process can take years.

"If we look at between 15-19-year-olds, we have 14.5% unemployment. Still well below many other places in the world but still significant enough to say that we aren't absorbing and giving skill opportunities to many young Australians, so the government has failed to get the balance right," says Tony Sheldon, from the Australian Transport Workers Union. "That means that labour has been brought in as an alternative, which is being more exploited, has less rights and is seen as a cheap form of labour but also an exploited form of labour." He fears that foreigners could also be under-paid and mistreated by unscrupulous bosses.

Academics now worry that a lack of training could increasingly leave young Australians unable to compete with temporary foreign workers especially in low or unskilled jobs.

 Michaela Kelly, from Drogheda, earns twice as much working in an office in Sydney than she did in Ireland. Like many Irish backpackers Michaela is well qualified with a degree in business.But with youth unemployment so stubbornly high in Australia, soaring up to 40% in parts of its major cities does she feel guilty that she could be taking a job from a local? "Is that bad if I say no?" she asks. "Irish workers come over here to work and they work hard because at home you are made to work hard, whereas Australians over here are just so laid back, they put things off and don't do it, basically. So, I don't feel bad."

Where are all the detention camps set up in Papua New Guinea to deter those, dare Mailstrom, say it - white Anglo-Saxons. Isn't it time for a fair deal for the peoples of all the world to better their lives?


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