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Australian IT Workers Concerned About Migrants

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the same-story-the-world-over dept.

Businesses 406

sien writes "In Australia it is being asserted that Australia's intake of migrants skilled in IT is taking jobs and lowering wages for Australian citizens. It appears that in all developed countries, not just the US, the case that immigrants are lowering wages for IT workers is being made. Would programmers in the developed world be better off without immigration that favors IT or is there an overall benefit for the industry with skilled workers going to the developed world and thus making the industry larger?"

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Oh geez.... (4, Funny)

vishbar (862440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433734)

Here comes the deluge of South Park "They took our jobs!" quotes...
 
fp?

Re:Oh geez.... (3, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433747)

Well, speaking as an IT Professional in Australia I can safetly say... Dey Turk Er Jerbbs!!!!

Re:Oh geez.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433785)

I more worried about the quality off the migrants.

Like all (bar a few hundred thousand) Australians i am the descendant of migrants, so any "they took our jobs" crap should quickly be flushed. Migrants to Australia are typically cashed up, and dedicated to a pretty kick ass opportunity that Australia presents them.

Better they come here and bring their language and tek skills.

However i just had a migrant boss, boy what a moron. the ppl at department of immigration are not very skilled at accessing a programmers skills (more concerned with locking up refugees)

I work in the public sector so I'm quite used to getting paid crap. but working for unskilled moron is worse than a $5 pay cut.

He is gone now but his legacy of crap code will live on for years.

Re:Oh geez.... (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433892)

and "creativity, skill and experience will always be in demand" comments.

this thread goes the same way every time . . .

mr c

OMG RACIST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433736)

Oh wait, you're Australian, never mind. That's just the knee jerk reaction here in the US.

A perfect world (5, Interesting)

Da3vid (926771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433749)

If this were a perfect world, maybe the competition would be welcome, where the most skilled would still get their high paying jobs. The problem really is in figuring out who is the most skilled. I see no reason why the most skilled shouldn't have the best jobs, and if you're the best man for the job, then more competition is no sweat, right?

-Da3vid-

Re:A perfect world (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433793)

Capital Flight = teh badness

Most economies work well, because companies pay workers, who in turn pay it back to other companies.

So, while economies aren't closed systems, it tends to work out fairly well. Unless, of course, you have a huge trade imbalance with foreign countries.

It's one of the many problems surrounding foreign workers. Not just that they're willing to work for less, but that some of their earnings go out of the country and never comes back.

Re:A perfect world (3, Interesting)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433794)

Sometimes for whatever reason, a nation might produce fewer skilled workers per capita in an industry than another nation does. But the fact is that a nation does need to protect its citizens, and an unmitigated deluge of skilled workers in an area from a nation with great capacity to produce them (perhaps they have a population that is 30 times larger) can be devastating to the local economy.

This would be a very terrible thing, and the reason it can happen is simply that some nations have far greater populations than others. Understand that, India, as an example, would have it well in its power to produce sufficient people in certain technical areas to supply the entire world with all the needed labor in that area. Checks and balances in work visas for foreign nationals is one of the ways to provide sanity.

So no, it would not be a perfect world if competition were welcome because the playing field is not at all level when the two nations in question have a great disparity in ability to produce a particular industry's per capita workforce.

Re:A perfect world (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433910)

Then why is it fair that certain nations, although with a higher per capita skilled workforce, have a lower per capita income?

Ok. So, China has lots of skilled workers, and in fact, if they all moved to Aulstralia, then they would "devestate" the local Aulstralian economy. But who's to say that the Aulstralians should have so much more money, per capita, than the Chinese?

The protection and the rules of fairness are only working, in their current state, one-sidedly.

Re:A perfect world (1, Insightful)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433971)

Well this is a very broad and deep topic, so it would be difficult to explore it fully, but there are many factors which contribute to relative economic strength in the world. A simple example would be: higher per capita skilled workforce for what kind of work? If your nation is full of a half billion super janitors, still, that is not so good for the average per capita income of your nation, maybe :-). But then there is the fact that what a job pays is typically strongly tied to a particular standard of living that "the market" has determined that job should command and the cost of that standard of living in the local environment. That market determination depends on a huge number of factors but broadly, supply of appropriate labor and demand for the product of the job. Supply and demand in this sense can be very largely affected by the government of the nation in which the work is taking place (visas, immigration restrictions, related trade tariffs, government funding of relted educational programs, and so on)

The bigger question you are asking about relative strengths of national economies, well that's just a huge topic. As a matter of national policy, it really depends on what resources that nation has and what resources it needs, and how effectively they can leverage the nations assets (people and natural resources) to reach agreements with other nations that are advantageous. The more resource that a nation has, the less it depends on others and so it has a stronger position. The more valuable the resources it has that it is will to exchange for power or other benefit, the stronger its position. (Witness the important of the Middle East on the global economic stage: Hello, Oil. Just for giggles, imagine if 90% of the oil on the Earth had actually been located in what is now U.S. territory.)

The market is very "fair" in the sense that the strongest nation at any given moment when factoring all these things in (lots of nuclear weapons is not to be underestimated in this respect for instance), is going to have the most "wealth". Might makes right is true on a national stage, no matter how subtle "might" happens to be. It's still the ultimate "fairness" in matters of power. Depending on the government, it may be concentrated into very few or it may be distributed more. That's where your per capita money comment comes into play. A nation leverages its resources as effectively as possible and that results in a certain GNP. If the leveraging is very inefficient, you get a low return on a large number of people and presto: low per capita wealth.

What you see in China right now is the industrial and technological revolutions occuring at a very rapid pace. Right now they have relatively little leverage (but still considerable) because they are somewhat behind the time curve on these economic transformations, but that will not hold for long, ...

Then you will see fairness in the form of a much bigger per capita leverage multiplier * 1.5 billion. The interesting question, at least to me, is how will the global community respond to this. How will the planet respond to the exponentially increasing energy demands, is interesting, too.

The next 50 years will be very interesting, unless an H5N1 or some such thing greatly simplifies things.

Re:A perfect world (4, Insightful)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433937)

Sometimes for whatever reason, a nation might produce fewer skilled workers per capita in an industry than another nation does. But the fact is that a nation does need to protect its citizens, and an unmitigated deluge of skilled workers in an area from a nation with great capacity to produce them (perhaps they have a population that is 30 times larger) can be devastating to the local economy.

I like this post, because you actually display more sophisicated reasoning here than most of the talk-radio types that usually complain about this phenomenon. But I would like to point out something important.

The costs of producing something have an impact of the price of what's produced. If steel suddenly becomes more expensive, you can expect to pay more for refrigerators and cars--not quite as much more as the literal cost impact, but something approaching it. (There's some economic analysis that underlies this, but it's not important.) If the costs of production decrease, you have the opposite effect, where the cost of the product/service decreases.

Labor is the same way, and in many industries (IT being a perfect example) labor costs are almost the entire cost of production. Sure, there are servers and ethernet cables to buy, but commodity hardware has made it so that the vast majority of IT costs are in terms of actual dollars paid for salaries, benefits, etc. to the people that run the servers, write the code, make it all happen.

So if the market for IT jobs is suddenly or gradually flooded with people who are willing and able to work for lower wages, the costs of IT services will tend to go down, too (assuming there's some competition in the market, of course). You can buy hosted web services from lots of competiting companies, so the price of web hosting will go down. Outsourced helpdesk support will also get cheaper. The price of Windows won't necessarily go down, but that's because they have a pretty effective monopoly on desktop OS software (slightly different rules apply).

Since IT services are a cost of doing other types of business, the costs of producing everything that relies on IT will tend to fall, too. Whether and how much depends on those particular markets and how much of their total costs are IT-related, but there will be an effect. In the end, the costs to end-consumers across the economy will go down. And it doesn't take an economist to realize that to the consumer, lower costs are the same thing as having more money.

Like you pointed out (and this is the part I liked), this can be pretty messy if it happens overnight, because the original IT workers who are losing jobs and seeing less in their paychecks will just be SOL. Costs might be lower for everybody, but it may be a net loss the the family depending on a sysadmin's (now decreased) income. The breadwinner might have to retrain or change jobs into a new field in order to get back his/her original income level.

But modern, 1st-world economies can absorb these changes decently well. As long as the percentage of IT workers in your work force isn't too high, and the change doesn't come too quickly, the retraining and job-switching will happen incrementally and people will have time to adjust. And it's not a zero-sum game, either--after people do adjust and retrain back to their original salary levels, they're by definition working in fields where the "home" economy has more competitive advantage, so the net economic effect is positive. Everybody gets lower prices, and (assuming people retrain to original salaries), everybody is making as much as they were before. It doesn't work out perfectly, but that's the general idea.

Job protectionism works out to be the same moral give-and-take as any other kind of trade protectionism: if you protect the current salaries of IT workers, everybody else in the economy (including a lot of other poor, working stiffs) pays for it with higher prices. If you let the market do what it wants to do, you let the IT people take a hit in the short-medium term in exchange for greater prosperity in the economy as a whole.

Re:A perfect world (1, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433994)

Like you pointed out (and this is the part I liked), this can be pretty messy if it happens overnight, because the original IT workers who are losing jobs and seeing less in their paychecks will just be SOL. Costs might be lower for everybody, but it may be a net loss the the family depending on a sysadmin's (now decreased) income. The breadwinner might have to retrain or change jobs into a new field in order to get back his/her original income level.

I like to apply the simplicity method to this .

And to me that is this, if they can do ANYTHING we do for less, then they will doing all
the jobs we do for less than we do under the simple fact that they will work for less .

As there is no minimum wage in some of the competing countries ...

So abolish minimum wage, and let americans work for 90 cents an hour so we can "compete"

Simplicity applies again here, try to afford a house or car on 90 cents an hour .

So you see property values plumment as massive deflation grips the nation .

Greenspan warned of this, and this is part of the formula for the housing bubble.

I don't like all of Greenspan's thinking, but he was right on this one IMHO, time will tell.

Ex-Mislech

Re:A perfect world (4, Insightful)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433942)

An unmitigated deluge of skilled workers ... can be devastating to the local economy.

Bzzzt! Return to Econ 101.

The local economy = everything produced locally. More skilled workers = more produced locally = economy grows.

Now, wihile said deluge certainly won't the devastate local economy, it certainly can devastate those displaced workers foolish enough to cling to the idea they are somehow owed a job in their former industry.

Re:A perfect world (3, Informative)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433953)

Sometimes for whatever reason, a nation might produce fewer skilled workers per capita in an industry than another nation does.
Interestingly I heard someone talking about this on the radio news on the way home today. The reasoning they gave for decreasing 'importing' people was that a lowering in wages was decreasing the desirability of IT courses to Australians (compared to other courses) and therefore Australia is producing fewer IT workers now. So, according to him at least, the "importing" of foreign IT workers was a cause of under producing native workers and getting more would in fact make the problem worse, as sort of a vicious circle.

To me it makes sense that a country should try and maintain a certain level of native competancy in skills, not that I have any idea what that level would be.

Re:A perfect world (4, Informative)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433887)

Funny,

I have worked for close to 30 years, and I have found lately that the bottom line is king .

A lot of the reason ppl are being hired from overseas is cost, not quality .

Don't get me wrong, some are quality ppl, I met some good and some bad while at cisco systems .

There is a perception that americans are fat and lazy, and I have met them too, but then again
I have met ppl that were awesome, but were paid very little because they were young .

I also see that older ppl are generally not accepted into the tech sector as being
considered unable to embrace new things and stuck in their ways .

Some old school telecom ppl got screwed on this HR techno-babble mental mindwash .

They need to just test the ppl, and have technical interviews in addition to the
personality assessment done by HR .

I have seen ppl hired at cisco that were pathethic , and they stayed even after the
DOT bust and ppl that stayed and left were both utterly amazed by it .

For the big corporations the accountants are driving them now, and 3dfx is a good
example of what happens when accountants and marketing droids take over .

Like I said, don't get me wrong, good ppl on both sides of the ocean, but some of the
most experienced ppl in the tech sector are being driven away by new visa workers
just for the cost savings .

As an american you can go apply at some of the foreign IT head hunter shops and no
matter your credentials you won't even get an interview .

They want ppl they can leverage with fear of being sent back home as well, knowing
it is the difference between a 3rd world job or being here making more than they would
in their resident country by far .

The flaw I see in this is that if money is made here, but most of it sent out of the country
to support their family back home, then money that would go into the economy here ends up
being sent out and deflating our economy .

They cry about a trade deficit, but they themselves employ foreign workers who send a great
deal of money home . "Just" sent via Western Union, "just" to mexico $6 billion USD .

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/19/b3526155.htm [businessweek.com]

I don't know how many ppl from other countries work here, but I know the figure is in the
millions, and I know it is from MANY nations . I also know generally the mexicans make
the least as well . So with that in mind, you can guesstimate the math .

When the corporations whine about the trade deficit, they can keep this in mind .

As for the government puppets protecting US jobs, that is a bunch of BS , and they should
all be flown to hollywood to pick up their oscar awards .

Peace,
Ex-MislTech

Re:A perfect world (5, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433933)

As an American (white male - lower middle class) I just want people to realize that immigrants aren't the real problem - foreign workers are the main problem. The best solution is to make it easier for those foreign workers to migrate here and get decent jobs here. We have minimum wage laws and free competition that other countries don't have. A large number of foreigners working for $2/hr would move here where they can make $20/hr. I'd sure as hell rather compete locally where all workers are under similar laws and living expenses than with someone that lives in a dirt hut and gets dirt pay. There would be a dip in wages as competition grew but it'd be much less drastic than the dip from jobs moving out of the country. What do we really think is going to be left as a source of income for us as companies keep migrating jobs? Blue collar jobs have been leaving us for years, white collar jobs have been following - what is going to be left?

Make it easier for those workers to move into our western countries and encourage buying products produced within our own countries. That's how to keep wages high. Not by slowing migration. We want to force foreign countries to raise their minimum wage, improve their working and living conditions, etc and compete on a level ground with us. Pretty simple.

I don't know what they're talking about (5, Interesting)

MadLep (61542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433757)

I work at a software development firm in Melbourne, Australia. We've had a lot of new work recently and have had to recruit extra developers. It has been very hard to find competant staff. Sure, there are a lot of wannabe grads and deadwood who have drifted through a few years experience, but it's slim pickings in general.

Re:I don't know what they're talking about (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433812)

Mod parent up!! Deadwood is certainly the case!

Most of the new development staff we've hired in recent years have come from internal applicants in our Technical Support departments who've been through our systems software training programs.

When I went back to uni to do IT in mid-90's (I was an Elec. Eng. originally) I was unpleasantly surprised to find that a large number of incoming students had to be shown where to find the power switches on the lab computers. It seems that not much has changed, with a lot of the graduates we've interviewed having the piece of paper but no real idea of what the hell they're talking about.

I'd say the graduates with any nouse have their jobs and are as happy as Larry - it's the nouse-less ones left behind which are making the noise.

Deadwood obscures the forest (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433888)

A lot of the jobs I've been looking at are pretty blase in their requirements. They seem to want degrees and a decade of experience for jobs that really don't require so much. For myself, I'm a Canadian with a background in system administration (Linux/Windows networks) and general IT support (hardware, networking, etc). Employers ask for the kitchen sink, and there are plenty out there who will jump up shouting about experience they don't have - making it hard for me to find my own in. Again, I'm not an Austrlian so it's more difficult for me to get my foot in, but I'd imagine that with the drones of locals, foreigners and others who are willing to greatly overrate themselves there's a lot of good wood hidden amoungst the deadwood.

do you smoke pole? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433758)

of course you do!

just admit it, you love the taste of freshly-pumped ball sap!

boom bust cycle (5, Insightful)

bobby1234 (860820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433759)

Once again the boom bust cycle continues...

1. high demand results in increasing supply (more uni graduates and immigration)

2. demand deminishes resulting in supply being met

3. demand bottoms out => oversupply

4. low demand => less uni graduates and less immigration

5. demand begins to increase

6. goto 1

how much more of this crap (3, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433760)

It's all very fine to point the finger at immigrant workers and blame them for vanishing jobs, but the question to be asked is why are they needed? Is it because immigrant workers are instantly, instinctively appealing to employers that they just feel a desperate urge to dump on their countrymen? If that were the case, then this would be a valid argument. But the IT immigration bias exists because the demand for IT labor exists. True, if there were no immigrant workers, then there'd be no shortage of X country IT jobs for people from X country, but there also would be a gaping personnel demand that X country's IT workers could not fill. The question should be why are immigrant IT workers getting jobs over the natives (and I use that term as respectfully as "immigrant")? And please don't come back with the "lower wage" stuff -- all the (few) job offers I got (being an "immigrant") were very competitive with those of local workers.

Re:how much more of this crap (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433826)

When you have a high standard of living (USA, France, Australia) workers in high paying industries expect decent hours and good wages.

Foreigners from countries with lower standards of living (large parts of Eastern Europe, Africa, portions of Asia) tend to willing to work long hours for what we'd consider a shitty salary, but for them is relatively high.

The worker Visa program also creates something of a hostage situation (in the U.S. at least). If cheap foreign laborers start bitching about their wages or working conditions, they can easily get their Visa revoked and sent back home. Australia also has work visa programs, so I imagine it is somewhat similar.

Re:how much more of this crap (4, Interesting)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433858)

willing to work long hours for what we'd consider a shitty salary

C'mon. Everybody I know (including myself) in this industry in Australia work shitty hours. Programming deadlines, upgrade windows, tender responses, support calls. Even just the reading to stay on top of the technology. We get paid well because we know stuff and we put in the hard yards.

Looking around my office, if there are "foreigners" taking Australian jobs, then those foreigners all come from NZ (Out of 18 people I can see from my cube, 4 are kiwis). Kiwis don't even need a Visa to come work in Aus.

As far as these "unemployable" grads, I'd like to see their profiles. I still get people turning up with a three-year CS degree from a non-brand university, a CCNA and an expectation of a six-figure salary. Sorry guys, not going to happen when I can get somebody (either Aussie or Foreign) with a hell of a lot of experience for that money.

We don't discrimiate on race or background, but nor do we import people to work for us. Actually, I can't think of any reason to import "cheap" foreign workers: The hoops you have to jump through to get the Visa are still pretty stiff, they have no knowledge of the local market and if I just want to use them for programming, why not leave them where they are and send the work over?

No. I think at least a decent proportion of these grads don't have work because they don't have the skills or experience to land the jobs, nor the nouse to go out and get the requisites.

Re:how much more of this crap (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433835)

There are a bunch of reasons.

  • The immigrant IT workers might be better qualified due to a stronger education and technical background.
  • Workers could have similar skill levels, but the number of foreign applicants might far outnumber citizen applications.
  • Foreign nationals of particular national, ethnic, or racial background might be perceived (and I know this is against the law in at least the U.S. but it still can happen in the form of unofficial bias) as more skilled.
  • Sure, wage might be an issue. Not in IT from what I can see, though. Often it is more expensive to hire the non-citizen.

I think the issue here is that what is true for the U.S. (are you a U.S. citizen) does not necessarily apply for Australia which has a much smaller population. So what you may argue could be valid for the U.S. situation but not for the situation in Australia.

Re:how much more of this crap (0, Troll)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433948)

The immigrant IT workers might be better qualified due to a stronger education and technical background.

Hardly. The most foreign IT workers I've met have been young, fairly new out of college, and in entry level positions. They do not have any greater qualifications than local workers. Arguably, they have less qualifications due to their thick accent and lack of knowledge regarding the local culture and common business practises.

Workers could have similar skill levels, but the number of foreign applicants might far outnumber citizen applications.

Did you read the article? Australia has a high unemployment rate now in IT, similar to the situation in the US. Companies are literally getting hundreds of applications, all from qualified people.

Foreign nationals of particular national, ethnic, or racial background might be perceived (and I know this is against the law in at least the U.S. but it still can happen in the form of unofficial bias) as more skilled.

I don't know about Australia, but that is hardly the perception in the US. Generally, people there consider Indian, Chinese, or Russian programmers to produce crappy, poorly documented code. This code inevitably gets re-written by more knowledgeable American software engineers.

And in the US, it is perfectly legal to discriminate based on nationality, but not race. People from certain countries where race is defined by nationality don't understand that and think they are the same thing. They're not.

Sure, wage might be an issue. Not in IT from what I can see, though. Often it is more expensive to hire the non-citizen.

What planet are you on? Sure, there may be more up-front work and cost to get the immigrant here in the first place. However, once they're here employers can pay them a low wage, give them sub-standard raises, and keep them locked at their company.

Companies always want to hire the cheapest workers around. That's why you don't see PhD's flipping burgers at McDonald's. And that's why you do see immigrants working IT.

Re:how much more of this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433844)

This whole immigrant problem is complete nonsense as far as im concerned. I am an IT manager in regional WA (thats Western Australia for those that dont know) and i am tired of hiring highschool dropouts to do our IT work. There simply isnt any skilled IT personel out here and we are forced to take whatever rolls out of the woodworks. If a skilled worker does appear there is an inevitable wage war between the different mine sites and commercial contractors to see who gets him/her. Yet you drive 6 hours to the nearest city (Perth) and programmers are prepared to fight over a basic data entry job.

In the past few years it has occured to me that Western Australia in particular has a shortage of just about every trade, but the distribution of trades sees some areas flooded with people looking for jobs while others have to beg and borrow whatever skills they can find. When did the IT profession start expecting the jobs to come to them? When did they start to think that an IT job meant you only lived in the big cities? Or for that matter when was the Western half of this continent considered outside Australia (beer and tasmania jokes aside)?

Re:how much more of this crap (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433871)

Maybe if you'd just stop dumping shit on anybody from the East Coast, some of us might come over to work there.

As it is, Perth has such a huge chip on its shoulder that anybody from Sydney or Melbourne is treated like a leper.

News to all Perth residents: We don't call you names. The only time I've heard people use the term "Sandgroper" has been when WA residents accuse use "Eastcoasters" of using the term.

Note to all non-Perth residents: Its a beautiful city, and if you tell the locals that you are from Adelaide, they are really nice people.

Re:how much more of this crap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433914)

Two guys that I work with are from Sri Lanka. Whilst they are perfectly capable of doing the work that we do, they are willing to accept a much lower rate than I am, 50% less in one case. Whilst they have the technical skills what they lack is the experience in the Australian work environment, contacts in the industry and in one case the ability to adequately express themselves in english.

I am in no way 50% better at what I do than they are, but I also have some expectations that the last 10 years i've put in to gain experience and take senior roles in my field (data comms and security) is worth more than these guys are asking. From my project managers point of view they're cheap so they're good for his bottom line budget.

Re:how much more of this crap (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433986)

Well, I've personally seen a few examples where it was just all about the money.

That's over here in Melbourne, on the East Coast, but it's the same situation.

It's all about the money. Most IT workers are recruited based on keyword searches through resumes. I know this happens and have seen many examples of it in IT, project manager and other areas.

It's just another form of outsourcing, but doesn't have the negative PR.

Re:how much more of this crap (1)

rodac (580415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433997)

I work for the sydney, australia office for a large international hi-tech company.

I often interview applicants for above-average payed technical positions at this company for this office.
We rarely hire local australians, instead most of the time we hire immigrants or arrange relocation for staff in europe or the us to fill open positions here.
The main problem is that australia was never an industrialized country and the true entreprenours or technically skilled people of the locals are few and far between.
In fact, in my particular group we no longer have a single australian born remaining.

I would say, and will probably be flamed for it, that the australian culture is not ready for hi-tech or technical thinking. But why would this be a surprise, this country does not really have any experience of having an industry. (no europeans or americans would consider this country industrialized. Dont get me wrong, quality of life is GREAT but it is not an industrialized country.)


The school system and the universities are probably also to blame, sometimes I mentor final year comp sci (master level) students that dont even know what Ordo is.
The mind boggles, how would anyone get past first year without knowing what computational complexity is.

Then again, it is not like there is lots of industry here so why should they waste resources on teaching them skills they will likely not need?

Somebody get it straight (4, Insightful)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433766)

Either the skilled immigrants are taking our jobs (competing under our labor laws), or the skilled foreigners are doing our jobs remotely.

Either the poor immigrants are responsible for all the poverty and crime, or else the birthrate is too low.

Admittedly, I didn't RTFA before deciding to post, but i have read it now. Basically, it's all summed up in the title. Some immigration analyst interviewed by what appears to be a newspaper says that too much skilled labor is causing a glut. Nothing new, for those of you who follow this kind of news in America, or any other country, i guess. damned foreigners (not that it's not a legitimately difficult situation).

A single source gave them the gist. Then at the end, here's the kicker:

But Australian Computer Society chief executive officer Dennis Furini said that while there was possibly an oversupply of entry-level programmers, there was a shortage of specialists in areas such as e-commerce and network security.

An Immigration Department spokesman said it relied on information from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to draw up the skilled occupation list.

"The Immigration Department has no information suggesting IT jobs should be taken off the skilled occupation list," he said.

Re:Somebody get it straight (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433822)

Either the skilled immigrants are taking our jobs (competing under our labor laws), or the skilled foreigners are doing our jobs remotely.

So, developing countries follow the (very apt) advice of developing their human resources: better schools, more resources for further education, partnerships for research and development and so on. This undoubtedly is vaulting a lot of societies upwards from poverty.

But of course, that means these people are doing actual work. Either at home, "taking jobs away" from rich countries (disregarding the question of how much of that work would have been done at all otherwise) and we can't have that, can we? So they go to where there's a market already, and suddenly immigrants are "stealing our jobs", and that's unacceptable too, of course.

From a larger view, after the highly developed West have been arguing for fifty years that countries need to expand out of poverty and become competitive, prosperous societies, suddenly everybody is shocked - shocked! - when countries are actually doing so, and becoming competitors in the process. News flash: lessening wealth inequalities means that the differences in wealth between countries will become smaller.

So what should these countries - and the smart, dedicated people living in them - do? Quietly disappear?

Me, given a choice, I much rather see R&D money (and my own money as a consumer) go to a struggling, up-and-coming newcomer of a country than to places that are already among the very wealthiest in the world.

Re:Somebody get it straight (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433883)

better schools, more resources for further education, partnerships for research and development and so on

Strangely, this is the exact antithesis of the current Australian government's Science and Education policies.

Re:Somebody get it straight (0, Troll)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433990)

I'd agree with you if the developing countries actually bootstrapped themselves to their current position.

However, the west has been sending money, sending food, sending clothes, doing training, and performing other aid for decades to help propel 3rd world countries to the modern age. The taxes my family paid for those decades went to that development in those countries. Our money also paid for the development of large companies in our country. Now, all the money we've created and paid is being used to sell our jobs to the lowest bidder in the developing countries. What kind of thanks is that? So what should we do? Quietly disappear?

Given my choice, I'd rather see the money stay right where it was created. Let the 3rd world make their own. That's what we did. They obviously don't care about the help we've given them for decades to bring them where they are today. They just want to take everything that we've created and call it their own.

Re:Somebody get it straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433843)

Either the skilled immigrants are taking our jobs (competing under our labor laws), or the skilled foreigners are doing our jobs remotely.

You get it straight. This is a false dichotomy sold to unthinking twits. Skilled foreigners simply cannot displace the vast majority of local IT workers. Big business can throw around this threat all they want, but the fact is that they need local workers. Instead of being stupid and continuing to allow a flood of immigrants to drive down wages, wise up and call the bluff. If big business thinks they can replace local IT workers with remote wokers and get a better value, let them go right ahead and try. That prospect should worry no local IT worker, because it just doesn't work, and big business knows it. That's why they are pushing so hard for immigration.

Re:Somebody get it straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433874)

i wouldnt call the age a very good newspaper :\ their previous stuff has never been that good

Re:Somebody get it straight (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434027)

I'm someone not too long away from graduating in Soft Eng from an Australian university, and I'm sort of getting the opposite feeling to this article here. I think that even with the migrants (and yes there are a lot of them) there may be a shortage of specialised IT workers quite soon. I'm talking about specialised IT workers, not help desk workers or something like that. University enrollments are at a record low of something like 20 years for IT related degrees, my own university is having quite a bit of troubles.

Lets face it here, there will be almost no migrants that aren't from first-world countries that will be as good as the students the top Australian universities should be able to deliver.

Notice, however, (and this is where the mood of this message will suddenly change) that I say "should". I don't think that bringing in migrants is a huge issue, the main problem is that the Howard government seems to be looking at this from almost a capatalistic viewpoint: Migrants from other countries are simply cheaper to produce than graduate university students, so what on earth's the need to fund Universities? A government should be looking after its people, so shouldn't the answer be instead to boost the universities instead of not giving the local students a chance of going to university and simply grabbing people from overseas? One of the bigger reasons for a lack of graduating university students is because the universities simply can't afford to accept as many students as they want. Universities are trying to get around this through many ways. Charles Sturt University, for example, sponsers out their courses to companies like Microsoft and Cisco. Graduating from a Charles Sturt degree gives you an automatic MCSE. My own university simply cuts the amount of students that can attend, so even though I get a high level of education, I had to be in the top 5-10% of Year 12 students to even have a chance of getting in.

Ironically at the time when the politicians went through university in Australia tertiary education was completely paid for by the government.

So to summarise, I don't mind them importing migrants, but they should also look after their own citizens first.

Experience tells Otherwise (4, Interesting)

femto (459605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433768)

The IT immigrants I know in Australia are getting paid more than the locally produced talent!

In my experience the immigrants aren't coming from third world contries and being used to force down Australia's wages. Rather they are from other countries with major (well paid) IT industries and Australia is poaching hard to get talent from these contries.

Hence the higher wages for the off shore talent. They are commanding higher wages as there is hardly any competition for the job from within Australia.

Others may have different experiences, but I can only comment on what I have observed. The people I know aren't 'entry level', though not all of them have a degree (lots of experience though).

I know I am! (1)

thecampbeln (457432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433809)

I'm a Californian that came down to Oz just around the bubble bursting. Anyway, my wife is an Aussie so I used her for the green card. I'm making more in Oz then I ever did during the bubble years in NorCal (inflation included). Course, "I's be one of dem damned fur-en-ers" the article discusses I suppose (though I now have my Aussie citizenship), but I am most assuredly not at the bottom of the market, pay wise.

Re:I know I am! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433840)

Your wife have a single sister?

Spinning out of Control or Spiralling Upward (4, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433777)

An introductory Economics text will speak to the need for labour to be willing to move to where there is work. Whether as individuals or as groups, those who battle the idea of economic globalization are irrelevant in the face of the movement toward freetrade zones and trade agreements. The current troubles arising from the implementation of globalization is causing friction and will for some time to come.

It's unlikely that isolationist nations can survive because trade secrets and laws protecting IP aren't sufficient to stop the flow of knowledge. The requirement is to stay competitive. Staying competitive requires a series of tradeoffs including bringing in cheaper labour.

Bite the bullet, it's better than the alternative of isolationist states at a constant threat of war.

Spinning out of Control-Atlas Burns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433851)

"An introductory Economics text will speak to the need for labour to be willing to move to where there is work."

Hello France!

"Whether as individuals or as groups, those who battle the idea of economic globalization are irrelevant in the face of the movement toward freetrade zones and trade agreements."

Penalty box for using free in the context of zones, and agreements.

"It's unlikely that isolationist nations can survive because trade secrets and laws protecting IP aren't sufficient to stop the flow of knowledge"

We're talking labour, not information.

"Bite the bullet, it's better than the alternative of isolationist states at a constant threat of war."

Assuming the sole cause of wars is "isolationism".

Re:Spinning out of Control-Atlas Burns. (2, Insightful)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433946)

I cannot speak to the levels with which I agree with your assessment of this persons
neo-globalization tripe.

You cannot have a fair, equal, and equitable relationship with nations that do not
have the same labor laws . Unequal ground = Unequal Terms .

If I were to run a company on US soil the same way one is run in China or other
countries I would be taken to court, fined, or possibly jailed if ppl were pissed enough .

This is about one thing, and that is MONEY, aka good old greed .

It always has been, and it always will be, "period" .

Extortion and manipulation of resources of ppl, aka human futures for the stock market .

Fle$h for sale .

The ppl that support the globalization tripe are most likely to profit/benefit from it
thus their perspective is skewed .

Globalization is how the country of france was almost burned to the ground, Globalization
is how riots have occured in the UK:

http://www.writewords.org.uk/archive/200.asp [writewords.org.uk]

Didn't hear about them I suppose ????

Mum's the word, keep the profits up mate !!!

Ex-MislTech

Re:Spinning out of Control-Atlas Burns. (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433998)

If I were to run a company on US soil the same way one is run in China or other
countries I would be taken to court, fined, or possibly jailed if ppl were pissed enough .


Of course, the same could be said about running companies in Europe the way they are sometimes run in the US as well. Differences can go both ways.

One thing, though: it isn't a zero-sum game. If a job moves from Sweden, say, to Estonia, the total wealth in the world is not constant. Since the baseline of wealth is very different, the job (let's say it costs half what it would in Sweden) creates more wealth in Estonia than is lost in Sweden since the value of that job is a smaller proportion of the Swedish wealth than of the Estonian. And since the work is being done for half the money, half is left to invest elsewhere (doing some job that would otherwise go undone), again creating wealth.

The effect? A somewhat more slowly growing Sweden - but a lot faster Growing Estonia. And the end result? An asymptotical narrowing of wealth disparity between the countries, with most of the narrowing effected by the growth of Estonia. And with Estonia about as wealthy as Sweden, it's a much larger market for everybody than when it was just a fraction of Sweden. Everybody wins, but especially the formely poor Estonia.

I said it elsewhere but it's worth repeating: Getting countries and people out of poverty means shrinking the gap in wealth - and that means having them grow wealthier and being more competitive.

This article is garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433778)

So are the slashdot editors racists now? Articles like this are just sickening. Having people from different cultures migrating into one's country enriches their country by diversifying it. I'm just naseauted that garbage likes this gets through.

Frankly, if an immigrant gets my job than it simply means he is more qualified than I am. Survival of the fittest. Also throws a wrench into the arguments racists have about non-whites being dumb when they're usually smarter and better workers than whites, as this article seems to indicate.

Re:This article is garbage (1)

calyptos (752073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433806)

He may be better qualified, indeed. However, he may be less qualified, single, and able to survive off of a low income... while you have a wife and kids to take care of.

Re:This article is garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433817)

Are you saying that the needs of poor immigrants is greater than some wealthy pasty white guy?

It's the wages stupid. (2, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433881)

It is not more qualified, generally it is cheaper. I know of one company that hired people H1B and paying them $2400/month and putting in 10 hour days. The owner of the company said that that is the top pay that they pay there, based on this woman being the highest paid employee. I have dealt with H1B people who were not very qualified.

Not to say that some H1Bs are not more qualified, but many are not really more qualified. Many employers put in fake advertising, or fake job requirements (ie. in 1997 requiring at least 5 years of Win98 programming). Or they advertise for people with a skill set thayt they don't require, ie. C/C++, Windows, Palm OS, Apple DOS, CP/M, RSTS/e, VM/370, SPSS, Basic, Snobol, Lisp, Perl, and Linux, but they are hiring someone to install linux on PCs. Then the employer claim that they cannot find a qualified person.

Once the H1B is applied for, the H1B must stay at the employer for a period of time. Meaning, they are stuck.

Re:This article is garbage (2, Informative)

ikarys (865465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433917)

I'm sorry, what has this got to do with "whites"? I do believe you views on racism cloud your mind from rational thought. Especially since you appear racist against whites. Where I work, we employ people from Thailand and India. We fly some of them over to work here in Australia. They get paid terribly in comparison to what the roles should be paid here. This is the "business" trend for bulk labour, regardless of industry. If its cheaper, business will do it. This is where businesses save money. They develop an "easy" to follow process, and then labour becomes cheap. Unfortunatly most of the time (that I've witnessed) it comes at the cost of quality. IT work should always be about quality. The contracts/positions are no longer financially feasable for someone with the required experience locally. Business can make huge savings in wages by employing someone from overseas. IMHO, we would be better off paying more for quality resources. I don't mind offshoring work. Importing workers is bad for the wealth of our local industry. If someone could be flown to Australia from a country less fortunate, to replace my role for a half of the cost, then thats REALLY bad for me. My value in the workplace diminishes, not because of my knowledge, or my experience, but because of imported labour. Imagine if whatever industry you're in started paying half wage. Also, different cultures can have different work ethics which are hard to work around. These aren't so easy to measure, and I think businesses quite often ignore the issues. For example, from Thailand we have some issues because the culture says "if you ask questions, you were to stupid to understand the first time". I've had a team of 3 "senior software engineers" each tell me that they understood a project (after reading a tech spec, func spec and a week of meetings), and had no questions. A week later, this was clearly not the case (even after verbal status updates "Yes its very good"). The one employee that did understand it all was a junior who asked plenty of questions (and she rocks at what she does, and I have a lot of respect for her).

nationality != race (1)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434006)

nationality != race

Yes, there are some countries where race is defined by nationality. However, in places like Australia and the US, that is not true. I suggest you learn and memorize that fact. It will make your discussions with Australians and Americans more understandable and less hostile.

Uhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433780)

Go back to India.

Re:Uhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433816)

Tell me -- were you born such a retarded shithead, or were you originally a slug who managed to rise to such prominence?...Go back to India my ass!!!

I've said it before, I'll say it again. (0, Troll)

Dogun (7502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433782)

Australia is more racist than Japan. Generally speaking. No offense to non-racist Australians, I recognize there are a heck of a lot of you. But I'm just saying... wow. Lots and lots who are on the opposite side of that table.

Just look at the history of Australia's immigration policy and notice how it swing back the close-minded direction again in the mid 90's.

Immigration is a POSITIVE economic force.

statistics available at http://www.immi.gov.au/statistics/ [immi.gov.au]

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433803)

As an Australian actually working as an immigrant in IT over in Japan, I think I'd be pretty qualified to answer this one.

Quite frankly, whilst i have been discriminated against in Japan and refused a lot of work for not being Japanese (language issues aside), I actually got an IT job over here with no degree, whereas back home I wouldn't have had a snowballs chance in hell - even with a degree - all citing "lack of experience"

Go figure that one. It seems that foreign workers in Australia all have the magical experience which homegrown uni-trained talent are never given the opportunity to get.

Bullshit Re:I've said it before, I'll say it.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433833)

Let me get this straight. TFA's asserting that the Australian Govt lets in "too many" immigrants with IT skillz, and you see this as evidence of inherent Australian immigration policy racism.

Uh-huh.

Or are you just doing your usual (since you've apparently "said it before") knee-jerk reaction to anything involving the words "foreign" and "immigrants" ?

(More racist than Japan? Yup. Sure. You need to get out more, and login less.)

Amused Caucasian

Re:Bullshit Re:I've said it before, I'll say it... (1)

Dogun (7502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434034)

Again, a kneejerk reaction putting words in my mouth that are not mine. (Incidentally, yes, my post was a knee-jerk response to "foreign" "immigrants" "Australia" "they took our jobs".)

While I do find a policy or two racist, I think my comment was more geared at the TFA, which I don't take to be an unbiased authority on the subject. If you look at some of the other posts by Aussie IT people I think you'll find that this paper is perhaps a somewhat distorted view of the situation.

Also, I like how the first response to my original post lends support to my position, intentionally or not.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433919)

Just look at the history of Australia's immigration policy and notice how it swing back the close-minded direction again in the mid 90's.

How has Australia's immigration policy changed for the worse in the last twenty years (please cite sources) ? If it has changed for the worse, how do you reconcile that and your following comment about immigration being a "POSITIVE economic force" with that last ~10 years being one of the best economic periods of Australia's history ? Surely if Australia's immigration policies had worsened, the economic impact would be negative ?

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Dogun (7502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434009)

a) e.g. The reinstitution of the English literacy test as a way of discouraging immigrants from certain countries.
If you want a lot of information on the subject, go to my user page, find this same past I made a few months back and read some of the responses there. Links galore. Knock yourself out. Mind blowing.

b) I think it's fallacious to link a good economic period (I'll take your word on this) with changes in immigration policy. There's nothing to reconcile there, you're ineptly attempting to put words in my mouth.

Re:I've said it before, I'll say it again. (1)

Honest Tony (807084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433932)

All is fair in globalization; that's what capitalism is all about, getting the more bang for your buck. Did Aussies falsely believe to remain isolated for all eternity?

Don't worry (2, Funny)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433786)

Foreigners really, I mean REALLY love doing over the phone support. Us IT workers have absolutely nothing to worry about.

The shedding of the old ways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433796)

"Would programmers in the developed world be better off without immigration that favors IT or is there an overall benefit for the industry with skilled workers going to the developed world and thus making the industry larger?""

I think that "buggy-whip" ways of doing IT will have to go if IT workers are to survive. And be improved by the software equivalent of "automation" [wikipedia.org]

Natives concerned foreigners may take resources (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433800)

"Natives concerned foreigners may take resources."

Here's an aboriginal perspective.

Well why wouldn't "Australians" be concerned? One wouldn't want to be visited the same fate their ancestors visited upon the dark race.

Consider it similar to the Israelis claiming their land back after being driven from it. Except now it's by those who had no prior claim .. but what's the difference? Aborigines aren't getting their inheritance land back any time either.

When you are living on the fruits of stolen inheritance, don't get pissed off if someone else theives it from you.

Nobody has the "right to a job". Better get welfare or some other subsidy than do a job that someone else can do better for less.

If you aren't able to make an original and meaningful contribution, you should consider working for McDonald's wages. Working at McDonald's is harder than sitting in front of a computer browsing slashdot.

Re:Natives concerned foreigners may take resources (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433854)

No one cares about what you Aborigines think. Shut up and go make me a sammich.

protectionism is retarded (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433814)

assuming equal proficiency, if someone will do for $10 what i want $100 for, then obviously the guy who will do it for $10 will get the job

whether he lives in bangalore, san francisco, or melbourne

go ahead and fight that, go ahead and wail about the injustice of it all

what are you going to do about it? what can you do about it?

are you saying it's exploitation of the guy who makes less? well he doesn't have to deal with the real estate market in san francisco... so rather than complain about how little the guy in india is getting paid, why isn't the problem that you are getting too much money for what you do?

Re:protectionism is retarded (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433911)

[S]o rather than complain about how little the guy in india is getting paid, why isn't the problem that you are getting too much money for what you do?

Because my taxes directly or indirectly subsidized the guy in India's education in the first place. If the guy in India didn't get his degree in the USA, there's a damn good chance the PhD's teaching in his Indian university did. And when "immigrants" are really interlopers, like H1-B's here in the USA, they are really just low wage stooges whose employers are screwing all the taxpayers who subsidize the infrastructure and economy these workers utilize and enjoy (energy, transit, medicine, rule of law, etc.) while they are staying here, artificially lowering our wages, on the soil our fathers and grandfathers gave their lives to protect.

Anybody who wants to heap crap on this argument and wave the "globalization is good" or "global competition is inevitable" deserves to lose a family member in a war protecting their country. Then let them make these asinine arguments, if they still think so little of the sacrifices people have made to give them the freedom to do so.

Re:protectionism is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433934)

That seems like quite a stretch.

Besides, nobody has died defending the US homeland since 1812. Time to find a new excuse.

Re:protectionism is retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14434023)

WTF are you talking about? There is a good chance that the PhDs teaching in Indian Universities are US trained? And all the kids in Bangalore get their degrees from the US? Where do you get this bullshit from?

On the soil your fathers and grandfathers gave their lives to protect? You mean the land that was procured by killing all the natives who rightfully owned it?

Fucking idiot trolls.

Re:protectionism is retarded (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433926)

I would much rather have the immigrants move here where they have the same cost of living expenses that I do than see Bangalore become the tech capital of the world. The reason that the first world has remained the first world for so long is that we have enticed the best and brightest from the rest of the world to leave their homelands and relocate in the first world.

Re:protectionism is retarded (1)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434022)

I think what the article is hinting at is it seems to be artificial.

For example, from the article:
"People lured to Australia on the promise of lucrative jobs in IT get here and find they don't have a hope of getting a job," he said.

This creates a mess of problems. Perhaps Australia was getting the standard immigration scenario you outlined there - work for less money ($10 instead of $100) - and then the government stepped in. The program outlined dramatically increased immigration in hopes of getting promising IT jobs. Only problem? The reverse happened. They were expecting that $100 but instead got $10. The immigrant loses and the company hiring wins.

slightly offtopic, but... (0, Troll)

santaliqueur (893476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433815)

how many illegal aliens are there in the US?

a brazillion.

Re:slightly offtopic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433882)

Its not like any of you 'real' americans want to do the jobs they have anyway. so quit bitching and clean your own damn house.

Lower wages??? (1)

asphinx (921110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433823)

I am just preparing my documents to apply for permanent residence in Australia after finishing my IT degree here (in Australia). There are a few things that Australians can't see (while the immigration authorities can) that impede people like me to get a job straight after graduation.

Firstly, it is impossible to get a job without a permanent residence status. The actual application and documents take about 7-8 months to get reviewed and approved (or declined). This gives a good chance to all Australians to get jobs before any immigrants, who finish their degrees at the same time.

Second, There is a language/cultiral barrier. I personally know people who have applied for IT jobs, and have been rejected on the basis of "would not fit in the corporate culture" excuse. I can sense that if an employer is presented with two equally skilled job applicants he/she would choose the Australian. I can understand this, and I respect this. Also, I know that the society is very culturally tolerant, but still...

I suppose that lower wages for immigrants is not an issue here, as it is not possible (in 95% of the cases) to obtain employment without permanent residence visa, and once you have permanent residence status the companies do not differentiate between Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents (oh well, probably the government and the military do).

So - please do not complain about immigrants getting your jobs. If you want jobs - study harder and get better degrees. And also - I have heard that about 60% of all jobs are given without formal advertisements - do you think it is that easy for an immigrant to get one of these??

Re:Lower wages??? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433899)

Firstly, it is impossible to get a job without a permanent residence status.

Wrong.

That's what I thought, too, and that may be what some folks (even some working for DIMIA) try to tell you, but it is not necessarily so.

I became a permanent resident in Australia in July 2005, 14 months after having obtained an Australian work permit (in May 2004).

Re:Lower wages??? (1)

asphinx (921110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433965)

hehe, you are more like an exception i suppose. i can work any hours i want now - because i am still on a student visa (until i graduate officialy - that is until i get a testamur) and i have applied for a few jobs. i got a reply from 3 of them. two of them asked me whether i am a permanent resident, to which i replied that i can work but i am not a permanent resident yet, explaining that the chances of getting it are very close to 100% - and i got no reply whatsoever from booth of them. i lied to the third company and told them i was a permanent resident. i got an interview and all went well, but when they asked me if i am a PR, i told them i am not and they told me that they cannot sponsor non-australians..so i didn;t get that one too. so now i gave up and i am waiting for my application to get processed before applying for any other jobs. i can give you some more examples of my friends, who also couldn;t get jobs because of their non-PR status here. there are also exceptions - but the rule does hold - it is extremely hard to get a job after finishing your degree and while waiting for a PR.

Re:Lower wages??? (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433903)

I have heard that about 60% of all jobs are given without formal advertisements

The last ACS survey put this around 80%. Yeah - contacts are everything.

Re:Lower wages??? (3, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433961)

The last ACS survey put this around 80%. Yeah - contacts are everything.

But that's really the same everywhere, in any field where skills aren't fungible. Not particular to IT or to Australia. In any given field, in any given area, people tend to know other people working with similar things. And any employer understandably likes the extra safety net of hiring someone who comes recommended by someone they already know and trust. Even if the recommendation is not wholehearted, the person - with strengths and weaknesses both - becomes a known quantity, and thus lower risk.

That's a major reason companies prefer people with some work experience as well. The fact that they have been hired once already in the field gives an implicit stamp of approval; someone else vetted them and found them acceptable. It's the same phenomenon anyone who's gotten engaged or married can tell you - suddenly you're much more interesting to people of the preferred sex than you were when you were single.

Everything is a commodity (1)

Tenk101 (938734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433828)

Everything is a commodity these days, its a case of adapting to this mindset and differentiating yourself. People migrating to australia (or other developed nation with an IT industry) for work will have a much smaller effect overall than work migrating elsewhere from australia.

it's well-known that aussies are xenophobic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433829)

australians are some of the most racist people [wikipedia.org] in the world!

Workers are somewhat fungible (2, Insightful)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433830)

Doubling the number of developers doesn't mean you double the size of the industry. Some developers will leave the field, others will be discouraged from taking entry level jobs, etc.

The last point is something worth considering. My friends and I all have solid technical educations. A generation ago we would be leading the charge to get more students to pursue similar academic and career tracks. It's hard work, but it also meant you could have steady employment later.

Now we all discourage people from pursuing technical degrees. The risk is too high. Senior people may still be in demand (although we have to wonder about that as well), but entry-level positions?

For that matter it's not just IT. Higher education is getting much more expensive at the same time that skinflint republicans are cutting student assistance. That forces many students to be more focused on a "trade school" university education than the more well-rounded one of prior generations. K-12 education, it goes without saying, is now teaching to the test to avoid draconian measures under NCLB. (Never mind what a high-performing school district can do. How do you show improvement when you already peg the test? These districts will be punished for being "successful.")

That's a minor pain today, but where will this country be in 20 years? I don't begrudge other countries growing their IT economy, but what happens when everyone would rather stay at home with a higher standard of living than they could get here?

There's a term for what the US is doing -- "eating our seed corn". Businesses may need to look at the next quarterly statement, but the government should be taking a longer view. Maybe the solution is to increase immigration so these skilled workers are more motivated to stay, maybe it's to limit immigration so our students have a motivation to make the necessary investment to be highly skilled workers in 20 years. But AFAIK that question isn't even on the table.

This reminds me of a movie (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433834)

This movie is as much about immigrants and an (but not the) Aulstralian response as the article: Romper Stomper [imdb.com]

presumably that'd be.... (4, Funny)

Alex (342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433853)

All of the Aussie IT workers that aren't working in London ?

Alex

ps - Hi Neil.

Avast! (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433857)

Now my ISP's customer service department has another excuse for being run by Malaysians who don't speak English the goods. >_ (I'm in Australia, by the way :P)

Just shut up.... (3, Informative)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433865)

Perhaps they should stop blaming others and increase the standard of what is being taught at Universities and the last few years of secondary/high school. The Australian IT industry is a shame compared to other countries.

He also said the Australian Computer Society, which accredits the IT qualifications of applicants for permanent residency, should introduce tougher English tests and insist that overseas students spend three years studying IT in Australia, rather than two.

The Australian Computer Society? Oh, these are the same guys who think IT 'pros' should be certified just like doctors and nurses. When its illegal to be an uncertified IT guy in Australia, please tell me because I will happily show the door to anything trying to enforce it.

No worries mate (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433868)

They can do all the work, we'll be down the beach.

Embrace change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433875)

Embrace change.

the great IT racket (2, Insightful)

kevin_osborne (691303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433878)

you guys supporting this 'no foreign workers' paradigm should be ashamed of yourselves. you're a racketeering mob if ever their was one: cronyist, corrupt and extortionist. take the medical fraternity in australia as an example of where this 'jobs for qualified locals only' thinking goes. the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has exactly these kinds of racketeering rules laid out in law (you can't practice medicine without being an AMA member; doing so is the equivalent of a felony) to prevent foreigners from taking up positions and possibly denying them the rates that allow them to upgrade their porsches every year. This practice continues while lack of specialists and rural GPs drives huge hospital waiting lists and ever-increasing costs of healthcare. And yet here is an example of a foreign worker: my wife is eastern european, and through her I have met older friends of the family, one of whom was a respected neurosurgeon in her country of origin. A neurosurgeon you say? surely she must be practising her incredibly difficult-to-gain level of education and experience to treat desperately ill patients on said waiting lists, right? wrong. she worked as a cleaner for many years while trying unsuccessfully to gain AMA membership, and now owns a small business completely unrelated to medicine and has left her hopes behind. The AMA is a cabal of price-fixers who use thier fraternity to starve supply and to artifically raise costs. You IT 'no foreign worker' bastards are just the same. If they can't place someone locally, or the candidates who do apply are shithouse, then foreign workers should be sought. If there's an oppurtunity to give gainful employment to qualified personnel from underprivelidged nations then we should jump at the chance. do you think its fair that an argentinian programmer should have to work for $20US a day to barely feed his family and drive a taxi at night to survive so you can be guaranteed of being overpaid for a job you're underqualified for, even though his code runs rings around yours? ps. yes, aussies are racist. %93 supported sending the NV Tampa home while on board Iraqis starved and faced either death or destitution at home. add to that concentration camps for refugees. and aborigines probably don't appreciate the name 'the lucky country' you insensitive twats.

Re:the great IT racket (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434015)

Australians are no more racist than Americans, British, Germans or just about any other group. Maybe no less racist either though.

Your Tampa stats are rubbish. Any survey can say whatever you like - "Do you think it's good to allow unknown people fleeing their country for unknown reasons into this country?"

I disagreed with the whole thing. I think we should throw open the doors to people fleeing a regime that's apparently so evil that we go to war to bring it down. But then I'm one of the 48% who voted for the second-place party.

There are many, many Australians like me.

And yes, the AMA should be called to account. this article is not about the AMA though, and racism is stretching it a bit too. Which country are you from, so I can heap some of the massive pile of shit back towards you? I am willing to bet that your country isn't pearly white in historical morals. You insensitive twat.

Aussie IT aint what you think boys.. (3, Interesting)

ministerofsickeningr (524980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433890)

I have been going there on and off for the last 4 years, and every time i go, i pick up industry rags, employment papers and all that lot, and check out the local IT scene there for software/IT work. let me tell you, its damn thin on the ground there, wages are laughable, and australia has a ton of overqualified people that cannot get a job. the worst problem is, not once did i see any evidence of an environment that fostered a silicon valley or whatever type of rampant innovation and development. maybe there is some geographic area that i am missing there, but if there is a bay area, or redmond, or boston there, i couldnt find it. it made me sad, cos i love the country, the people, and most everything else, but after 15 years in the IT industry in most of the hottest markets in the US, i'm fully accepting of the fact that i *will* have to change industries radically in order to keep my head afloat, should i decide to relocate.

Re:Aussie IT aint what you think boys.. (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433927)

once did i see any evidence of an environment that fostered a silicon valley or whatever type of rampant innovation and development

You are spot on. There are very few incentives that encourage entrepeneurial behaviour, and in the end we are a small markets (20 million people) selling into a small market.

Today I went to talk to a group of PhDs who have spent the last 3 years developing some really funky s/ware. This friday they are off to europe and asia for two months to get some pilots up and running with some major international businesses. The only reason they got this far is that they knew people who knew people and were able to fund their work for the three years its taken to get to this point. No government help, no tax breaks... and Australia is not going to benefit from it: I'm betting that a major European provider snaps them up and then sells it back to us at an exhorbitant rate.

Humbug ! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433891)

>> Australian IT Workers Concerned About Migrants

That's a deliberately misleading headline. Read the article or don't waste your time, here's a summary

Australian IT workers haven't made any comment.
The comment was made by a consultant longing for long-past Y2K golden days.

"Bob Kinnaird, of labour market consultants Kinnaird and Associates, said ........ "

I can't blame The Age for publishing it.

After all, if it bleeds, it leads :-)

Age old rhetorical question (5, Insightful)

redblue (943665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433900)

Why is a global free market for goods considered good, but that for labor bad by so many inhabitants of "developed" nations?

History repeats (2, Interesting)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433950)

There's no way to stop history.
This already happened several times in the Human history. One of the most kown case the "Fall of Roman Empire".
People coming from the borders substituted the Romans in almost all the "lower" layers of the society, thus actually changing the Roman Empire itself. Soldiers were not Roman at all, later officers and generals and finally even the Emperors themselves.
The same happened with economy. First the farmers and the goods traders, later the manufacturers. In the end of the Empire all the stuff needed to keep Rome alive came from abroad, even the wheat.
And Rome ended to be nothing more than a village from a big city it used to be.
The "empire" people concentrate into consuming resources instead of producing them and into looking at the world instead of taking care of it. The people from the borders try to exploit this by providing those goods, thus dumping the market and killing the "local" manufacturers and traders with lower costs and prices.
Most part of the western society will be replaced in a near future by "border" people. And there is no way to stop this.

No, I'm not. (5, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433952)

As an Australian IT worker, not only am I not concerned about migrants taking my job, I actually work in an educational institution that trains international students. Migrants are not "taking Australian Jobs", that's just a tired old stereotype hauled out whenever some, usually, right-wing nutjob wants to rally support for whatever cause he or she is abusing at that moment.

This is a small planet people, and everyone is just trying to get through life as best as they can.

Re:No, I'm not. (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434033)

My Family & I lived just north of Sydney for 7~8 years, shortly after our defection from the Czech Republic. To this day I still have the impression that Australia is very protectionist (Mind you this was back in the '70's). What it's like now I couldn't comment on, as I haven't live there since 1980. The main drift of my comments though are perhaps that the issue looks different from a immigrant's point of view.

Teek a derrr!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14433975)

Don't blame immigrants blame the employers that take them and pay them lower wages, that's your countrymen alright.

Sensational Bullocks (2, Interesting)

gregoryl (187330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14433976)

I work in Australian IT and this topic never comes up.
I look around and yes, I'm one of two people in my team of 10 that are Australian, but who cares?
Like most others we are more concerned with our roles being outsourced off shore.
It's kind of cool being surrounded by different people for different backgrounds - I'm proud of the lack of discrimination and mixed culture that is in my industry.

This topic has never been a concern in any Australian workplace I've worked in. It is sensationalistic journalism. What next? Are our IT workers getting fat? Women vs. Man ratios. The dateless many at Star Trek conventions. *sigh* Next!

Miscommunication? (1)

ddx Christ (907967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434004)

From the article:
"People lured to Australia on the promise of lucrative jobs in IT get here and find they don't have a hope of getting a job," he said.

But Australian Computer Society chief executive officer Dennis Furini said that while there was possibly an oversupply of entry-level programmers, there was a shortage of specialists in areas such as e-commerce and network security.

...the Federal Government had brought in large numbers of IT workers over the past four years, even though there was a serious oversupply in the Australian labour market

It might've been easier on all parties involved to have highlighted that, according to the article, that the shortage involved was in e-commerce and network security. The oversupply is just going to make the jobs worthless if the companies have an enormous supply of workers. The promise of lucrative jobs is then a blatant lie - but perhaps the influx is desired by companies for that very reason.

Either way, that's fairly unfortunate. The immigrants and the natives both lose in the long run. The fierce competition could easily drive down wages. If you're willing to work for less, you're hired; it may not apply toward the highly skilled jobs, but it's still employed to a degree.

On the extreme, it seriously cuts future supply by discouraging future students from IT. Money is a powerful number, and high unemployments means a certain lack of money. And then the cycle continues, as someone put it earlier.

It's not their immigration, it is their existence (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14434014)

An engineer from China or India is going to lower the wages of first-world engineers regardless of where he or she works. It is actually better for Australia to let these people come and work in their country - at least they can then collect the taxes as their own corporations make profits. Leave them in China or India and they will just compete from there, to the benefit of China and India and their companies.

You cannot stop the information from crossing the border, and that is what matters in the end. Since the primary product of science and much engineering is information, there is little one can do to stop globalization of these markets.
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