March 4, 2005

WATCH AS CASH REGISTER BELLS DROWN OUT THE BAYING OF NATIVISM:

'Guest' workers prop up economy (Elizabeth Colman and Glenda Korporaal, March 05, 2005, The Australian)

HUNDREDS of thousands of unskilled foreigners are propping up the economy as pressure mounts on the Howard Government to create a contentious new short-stay visa category to allow migrant workers to fill growing job vacancies.

The number of foreign workers applying to enter Australia has risen sharply in the past five years, from 187,000 in 1999 to 325,000 last year.

But Treasurer Peter Costello is resisting a push from business for the special visas, insisting it is "against the national ethos" to introduce short-stay "guest workers".

The Howard Government faces a mounting policy challenge, with a shortage of workers threatening to push up labour costs and inflation, while capacity constraints are dulling economic growth.

The Australian revealed this week that the Government plans to dramatically lift the intake of skilled migrants by 20,000.

Fruit-growers watching their crops rotting on trees because of a severe shortage of pickers are urging the Government to let in the migrant workers.


Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2005 4:51 PM
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