The Australian Population Research Institute is an independent research organisation. It is devoted to understanding and communicating the nature of Australia’s demographic and economic situation and the policies and factors influencing this.
It is a not-for-profit Institute with no funding from corporate Australia. Its members are all participating researchers who contribute to the Institute’s work.
New research report, 15 December 2016
Mike Moynihan and Bob Birrell, GP Oversupply — ignoring the evidence
The Coalition government has presided over a surge in the number of GPs billing on Medicare, particularly in Australia’s metropolitan areas. The dominant source of these extra doctors is overseas-trained doctors (OTDs) who have completed their compulsory period of service in undersupplied locations.
Most subsequently move to the major cities and regional centres. These OTDs are the main source of the rapid growth in the per capita provision of GP services in the cities. This is partly because of the surge in their numbers and partly because they bill for far more services per year than their Australian-trained doctor (ATD) counterparts.
Meanwhile, in regional areas, the government is allowing employers to sponsor OTDs to replace those who have served their required time in areas defined as in shortage. Employers continue to sponsor more than 2,000 replacement OTDs on 457 visas each year (2,320 in 2015-16). This is more than the 1,529 training places for local graduates beginning their careers as GPs in 2015.
The result is a cycle leading to ever larger numbers of doctors relative to Australia’s patient load and ever higher GP Medicare costs.
This paper explores why the Australian government has allowed these outcomes to occur and why it has ignored the advice provided by its own Department of Health to reduce Australia’s reliance on overseas trained GPs.
Anna Patty, ‘Forecast oversupply of doctors to hit this year amid calls to halt imports’, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 January 2017
Bob Birrell, GP Oversupply and medical migration, 17 January 2017
Research report, 1 December 2016
Bob Birrell, Ernest Healy, and Bob Kinnaird, Immigration overflow: why it matters
This report highlights two issues. The first is the high and increasing numbers of IT professionals being granted 457 visas. They constitute by far the largest occupational group within the 457 program. Most are Indian nationals who are sponsored by Indian IT service companies. These companies have been successful in winning a major chunk of Australia’s IT consulting work on the basis of 457 visa holders. They have succeeded in part because they are paying their professionals much lower salaries than the market rate for IT professionals in Australia.
The second issue is that the Australian government has persisted with a record high annual permanent migration intake of around 205,000, despite the weakening of the Australian economy since the end of the resources boom in 2012. This permanent intake is the major source of Australia’s very high rate of population growth. It is having a disastrous impact on Sydney and Melbourne where just over half of the migrants settle.
Migration advocates argue that this urban impact is being offset by the influx of ‘highly trained’ skilled migrants in occupations which are in short supply in Australia. These claims are not true. Any relationship that there was between skills recruited under the points-tested visa subclasses and shortages in the labour market has eroded. This is in part because the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) that is supposed to remove occupations that are oversupplied in Australia from eligibility for the points-tested visa subclasses, no longer does so.
John Masanauskas, Thousands of foreign IT workers flood Australian markets as locals struggle to find work, The Herald Sun, 2 December 2016
Leith Van Onselen, Immigration overflow: the systematic rorting of Australia’s visa system, 2 December 2016, MacroBusiness, 2 December 2016
Anna Patty, Proportion of Indian IT workers on 457 visas on rock bottom pay triples, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2016, and The Age, 3 December 2016
Peter Dinham, Surge in foreign IT workers entering Australia, Aussies struggle to find jobs, ITWire.com, 4 December 2016
Nidhi Mehta, As Indian IT workers on 457 visas flood Australian Market, local IT graduates languish, bharattimes.com, 4 December 2016