Minister to launch report on achieving stable migrant employment

Published:04 December 2018

Fruit-picking Photo courtesy Shinya Suzuki via Flickr Creative Commons.

Queensland Minister for Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe will soon launch recommendations from a new CQUni study on ‘Achieving secure and stable migrant employment in the agriculture, manufacturing and food processing industries of regional Queensland’.

This pilot report from the Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities (CTRO) in the School of Business and Law at CQUniversity will be launched by Minister Hinchliffe from 11 am on Thursday 13 December at CQUni Brisbane.

CQUni Professor Julian Teicher says many of the current skill shortages in regional industries are being met by temporary overseas migrants, including backpackers, working holidaymakers and seasonal Pacific Islander workers.

Over-reliance on temporary migrants comes with a whole series of costs due to high labour turnover, strict visa conditions, higher labour costs and other procedural aspects.

“If obstacles can be overcome, including the seasonality of work, there are significant social and economic benefits in attracting permanent migrants to regional industries,” Professor Teicher says.

“Many respondents indicated a crucial need for both unskilled and skilled employees as regional Australian agribusiness embraces ‘agri-tech’.”

Professor Teicher says that barriers to employing migrants in regional areas include language proficiency, skills recognition and matching, a lack of knowledge about available jobs and a lack of communication between employers and migrants.

Migrants are also unwilling to work in regional or rural areas due to perceived social isolation, that is, a lack of people from the same cultural background.

Professor Teicher’s co-authors on the CTRO report were Professor Susan Kinnear and Dr Delwar Akbar from CQUniversity and Dr Ataus Samad (UniWesternSyd).