¢â‚¬©Australian Experiences with Skilled Migration ......
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‘Australian Experiences with Skilled Migration – Perception and Reality’
Foreword The overall findings of this study are extremely positive and considerably more so than
some recent media reporting on our skilled migrant program.
Approximately 80 percent of the 1044 respondents to this study are working at the front
line of the scheme – as employer sponsors of skilled migrants or as employees working
alongside skilled migrants. Of those two sample groups, a total of around four out of five
report positively on the benefits of the scheme and would take the same path again to
source talent from offshore, given the opportunity.
While a minority of respondents reported problems with 457 visa workers, they are related
largely to issues that are not skill-based.
Some respondents in the study also identified problems with the immigration process although the overall satisfaction
level is adequate.
In a scheme that brings people from distant parts of the world to fill Australia’s skill gaps, the largely positive findings
from this study are testimony to the bi-partisan political spirit in which skilled migration has been treated.
Even though the economy has taken a turn for the worse in recent times, there are still reports of skill shortages that
will need to be filled from offshore in order to ensure our strong and well performing industries remain so. And in
those sectors struggling in the present economic climate, selective offshore skills may better place them to make a
A critical finding is the high number of organisations that reported seeking skills from within Australia before looking
overseas. There will no doubt be greater pressure for that practice to continue in the current economic circumstances,
but this report also leaves little doubt that the skills which migrants have brought into the country under the 457 visa
scheme have been beneficial to business and the wider Australian economy, and it is expected they will continue to
The results of this study support the Government’s recent decision, announced by the Federal Minister for
Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Evans, to continue the scheme but with a lower overall intake in 2010 that will
still include high-demand sectors such as medical, health and information technology. The study reveals that the 457
skilled immigration scheme has brought significant benefits to the Australian economy and the functioning of our
Peter Wilson AM
National President, AHRI
This is the first research report for the 2009 series of quarterly HRpulse studies.
AHRI’s HRpulse reports explore issues that relate to the practice of human resources and people management in business, providing data for the use of practitioners in the HR profession as well as government, media and the community at large.
During 2008 the HRpulse series reported on the following four topics:
• Generational differences in the workforce
• Staff turnover and the issue of retention
• Parental leave
• Performance management.
Like its predecessors in the HRpulse series, this survey on skilled migration attracted a sample group in excess of 1000 respondents. I take this opportunity to thank the members of AHRI for contributing to the data that result from the surveys. The survey questions take time to complete and involve effort, so your continued support is greatly appreciated. AHRI cannot produce reliable, evidence-based data without the support of the people who, through their expertise and know-how, provide the evidence.
Other HRpulse surveys planned for 2009 include executive remuneration, industrial relations and the economic slowdown, and suggestions from members are welcome.
I commend this report to you and trust you will continue to support AHRI research initiatives.
Chief Executive Officer, AHRI
Acknowledgements Project director: Serge Sardo Research coordinator: Anne-Marie Dolan, Eve Guzowska Report authors: Serge Sardo, Paul Begley Sponsor: Bridge Consulting
Volume 3, Number 1
© Australian Human Resources Institute, March 2009
Research Report 1
BACKGROUND During December 2008, the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) surveyed its membership base for the purpose of producing a HRpulse report on how skilled migration was operating within the Australian workforce. AHRI’s survey instrument informed participants that the questions should take about 10-15 minutes to answer.
Types of respondents Apart from the standard demographic information sought from HRpulse respondents, those who contributed to this survey were asked to identify themselves as one of the following:
• An employer of skilled migrants
• An employee working alongside skilled migrants
• A person from an organisation that has not employed skilled migrants
• A skilled migrant employee.
The answers to some of the questions were filtered in accordance with how the respondents identified themselves.
DEMOGRAPHICS The survey attracted a response rate of 1044 individuals from the AHRI database over a two week period in December 2008. Respondents were contacted by email and completed the survey online.
Representations of the respondent breakdown in terms of age, gender, organisation size and type, position in organisation and the main activity of the organisation, are set out in tables 1-6 below.
Table 1. Age of respondents
Table 2. Gender of respondents
25 or younger
26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-50 51-55 56-60 61 or older
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Table 3. Organisation size
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Table 4. Organisation type
Table 5. Position within organisation
Public Private Not for profit Government business
M a n
r H R
M a n
M a n
r M a n
B a rristo
4.31% 4.22% 6.14%
0.67% 0.19% 1.15% 0.29% 3.45%
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Table 6. What is the main activity of your organisation?
As indicated in tables 1-6, around three-quarters of respondents are aged between 25-50 years (75.67%) with a little more than half in the age groups between 25-40 years (51.15%).
Nearly three quarters of the respondents are female (71.51%).
More than a third of respondents work in organisations with more than 1000 employees (35.48%) and less than a third in organisations with between 100-499 employees (29.33%). Nearly one in four is from an organisation with fewer than 100 employees (23.17%), and one in ten from an organisation with between 500- 999 employees (12.05%).
Two thirds of respondents hold positions in HR as directors, managers, advisers or administrators (66.45%). A little more than one in ten hold positions as managers, team leaders or consultants (12.14%) with a similar number being senior managers or directors (10.56%).
More than half the total respondents are from NSW (28.94%) and Victoria (24.13%), with Queensland and WA representing more than a quarter between them (16.63% and 12.88% respectively). Four out of five respondents is based in a metropolitan area (80.62%).
The single largest group represented among respondents is from the area of professional, scientific and technical services (15%), with 10.3% from the health area, 8.4% from education and training, 7.5% from financial and insurance services, 6.2% from manufacturing and 5.9% from mining. The other half of respondents are distributed in areas that include construction (4.5%), informati