When General Skills Are Not Enough: The Influence of Recent Shifts in Australian Skilled Migration Policy on Migrant Employment Outcomes

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 21/14

Date: 2014

Author(s):

Justin van de Ven
Sarah Voitchovsky
Hielke Buddelmeyer

Abstract

Although many countries are now using skilled migration to offset declining fertility and increased longevity, there is thin empirical evidence concerning the effects of alternative approaches to managing the skilled migrant intake. This study focusses on the effects on migrant labour market outcomes of Australia’s recent shift from a points-based “supply driven” model that favoured independent General Skilled Migrants, to a “hybrid model” that balances supply driven migration against Employer Sponsored “demand driven” migration. We find that the shift to a hybrid model of skilled migration resulted in substantively improved rates of employment amongst skilled migrants without an accompanying deterioration in the average distribution of occupational outcomes.