Immigrants Out-Earning Aussie Colleagues

Immigrants out-earning Aussie colleagues

Posted Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:42am AEDT
Updated Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:08am AEDT

New figures show temporary skilled workers being brought into Australia are earning above-average wages.

The figures released by the Department of Immigration show those workers coming to Australia under the section 457 visa earn in some cases well above their Australian counterparts.

In the last financial year, workers in some categories earned up to $15,000 above the average wage in areas such as finance, manufacturing and construction.

Australian unions have argued for an overhaul of the visa category, saying many workers being brought into Australia were being underpaid and exploited.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration says 60 per cent of the 457 visas were granted to professionals, with a further 10 per cent to associate professionals, and those groups tend to get a higher wage than average.

But the peak union body in New South Wales says the new figures do not show the whole picture.

Unions New South Wales secretary John Robertson says there are still some workers, mainly from Asia, who are being exploited.

“For a lot of these workers, no doubt they are going to work in the mining sector where we know there is a wages boom on,” he said.

“Statistics, averages, don't always paint the picture for small pockets of the workforce, or particular categories of visa holders.”