Barnaby Joyce launches extraordinary pay raise of over $16,000 for low-paid migrant workers as their salaries in Australia are already ‘better than the life they had’
- The ex-leader of the Nationals destroyed migration changes
- Said raising wages for temporary skilled migrants was ‘counterintuitive’
- “It’s better than the life they had,” he claimed of migrant workers
Low-wage migrant workers, according to Barnaby Joyce, shouldn’t get a raise because their conditions are already better than where they come from.
Wages for temporary skilled migrants will be increased by up to $16,000 from July as part of a major overhaul of Australia’s migration system after a review found the minimum income threshold paved the way for exploitation.
But former Nationals leader and current backbencher, Barnaby Joyce, has claimed the raise would be “counterintuitive.”
“We have to make sense, as they are in so many other countries where people are happy with the pay, it’s worth so much to them, it’s better than the life they had,” he said.
“And we get a job done that won’t get done.”
Mr Joyce pointed to jobs like cleaning motels, picking fruit and packing offal at a slaughterhouse as roles no Australian was willing to take, and pushing for a pay rise for temporary migrants was “counter-intuitive”.
“We have to make sense as they do in so many other countries where people like to get the wages,” MP Barnaby Joyce (pictured) said of government plans to raise wages for temporary skilled migrants by up to $16,000
“You’re basically saying that someone should make beds in a motel, which we can’t let anyone do… raise the wages. Well, the only way they can get it is if they raise your motel bill,’ Mr. Joyce said.
The wage cap for skilled migrants has been frozen at $53,900 since 2013. Starting July 1, it will be increased to $70,000.
Innes Willox, CEO of the AI Group, said it was “very difficult to argue against the increase” as the new threshold was in line with CPI increases over that period.
But he stressed that there would be problems in the hospitality and agricultural sectors.
Protections for low-wage overseas workers would also be increased, but ACTU chairman Michele O’Neil warned there was still more work to be done.
Businesses and unions agree on sweeping migration reforms announced Thursday by Home Secretary Clare O’Neil (pictured, at the National Press Club)
“We want to see it indexed and put at a higher rate … but what we know is we still have this problem where many hundreds of thousands of people are not affected by that (income threshold) level,” she told ABC’s RN.
Businesses and unions agree on the sweeping migration reforms announced Thursday by Home Secretary Clare O’Neil, following a review by former public service boss Martin Parkinson.
Among the changes, a ‘mess’ of visa categories will be simplified, applications from highly paid, skilled foreigners will be expedited, and the requirement for employers to advertise jobs locally before hiring a migrant will be removed.
Ms O’Neil said the strategy would lead to a reduction in the number of overseas workers in Australia over time, but admitted that in order to catch up with Covid-19, the country would experience a temporary uptick in migration.
Speaking to the Today show, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles denied that reforms were a “big Australia” policy.
“What we’re trying to do with migration is make sure we have a much more orderly migration system that can work for the country,” he said.