(Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/manus-stand-off-halted-as-guards-storm-compound-20150119-12tlqp.html) – Guards vs Asylum Detainees.
Perhaps the hardest thing to digest with the government is that in the medium to long run, refugees and asylum seekers bring more return to the economy which will contribute growth, replenishing the aging population, expanding internal domestic market and with it, carrying new knowledge, new resources, and skills that Australia will need in the future. This is what we need to ensure a sustainable development and growth for Australia in the 21st century, moving away from a predominantly resource exporting country.
This article from Huffingtonpost – Immigration is good for economic growth: if Europe get’s it right, refugees can too – below explaining the benefits that potentially can come out of the situation in the medium term, which can also be applicable to Australia, especially as our country also has an aging population.
Some view this as a humanitarian crisis and others see it as a challenge and a threat. And then there are the economists! Economists tend to see a large influx of refugees not as an obligation or a threat — but as an opportunity. In particular, Europe faces a major demographic challenge: our population is aging, and, in many countries, shrinking. The EU’s total fertility rate is not much over 1.5 children per woman — you don’t need to be a demographer to work out the long-term implications. Indeed, if it weren’t for migration, the EU’s working age population would already be shrinking.
Last year, deaths exceeded births in Greece and Italy (where the vast majority of the migrants arrived) and in Germany (where the largest number end up). Germany’s economy is creating jobs faster than the natives can fill them. Surely the answer is obvious — Europe should not only accept refugees, but welcome the consequential increase in the labor force. As Thomas Piketty, the celebrated author of “Capital in the 21st Century,” recently wrote, the crisis represents an “opportunity for Europeans to jump-start the continent’s economy.”
It is undoubtedly true that the economic case for immigration is strong. In the U.K., the period of high immigration that began in 1997 and intensified in 2004 with the extension of free movement rights to the new member states of central and eastern Europe, is generally recognized as having a positive economic impact. It has resulted in a substantial increase in overall employment and hence GDP without any significant negative impacts on the employment prospects of the native-born.
And while the resulting growth in population has certainly increased pressure on public services, this is more than compensated by increased tax revenues. Nor has the changing population necessarily had a negative impact on social outcomes. For example, while there is much debate about the recent extraordinary improvement in the performance in London’s schools — perhaps unparalleled in the developed world — it is generally accepted that the children of recent immigrants have at least something to do with it.
Moreover, beyond demographics, immigration could also improve Europe’s economic performance over the medium-to-long-term in a number of ways. Immigrants bring different skills and aptitudes and can transmit those to non-immigrant colleagues (and vice versa). They can increase competition in particular labor markets, increasing the incentive for natives to acquire certain skills. Indeed, evidence from Denmark suggests a refugee influx in the late 1980s had just this impact. And workplace diversity can boost productivity, as a number of U.S. and U.K. studies have shown.
But a note of caution is in order here. The operative word in all of this is “could.” While many refugees are well educated or highly skilled, not all are; and, more pertinently, unlike most “economic” high-skilled migrants, they are not coming here because of job or career opportunities. There is nothing automatic about their success, either in the labor market or in society as a whole.
Recent OECD research makes this point. Some European economies and societies are far more successful than others in integrating immigrants into their labor markets. While in the U.K., immigrants are only marginally more likely to be unemployed than natives, in Spain, Greece, Belgium and Sweden there is a gap of 10 percentage points or more. Similar divergences appear on other indicators: for example, France, Germany and Finland all have worrying gaps between the educational performance of children of natives and the children of immigrants.
The reasons for these divergences are complex and varied, ranging from the cultural and religious backgrounds of immigrants, to racial and religious discrimination and exclusion, to the different labor market institutions of different European countries. But if we want to realize the very large potential gains from this new wave of immigration, policy must not just be about where to put the new arrivals and how to deal with their resettlement in the short term, but how to ensure that they integrate successfully, both economically and socially. And this will not be painless or cost-free, either for them or for the host countries.
I will conclude on an optimistic note. I arrived in London in the early 1970s, the child of (American) immigrants. Nobody really noticed or cared about a university professor and his family moving to take up a new job. However, roughly at the same time, several tens of thousands of refugees arrived from East Africa — ethnic Indians who had been expelled, sometimes abruptly and violently and generally with little or nothing in the way of possessions.
With good will and hard work, Europe can prove the pessimists wrong -and the economists right.
The fact is Australian refugees could Potentially reach that similar potential, one of my first blog explains how “Australia can benefit from it’s refugees“, citing the findings from Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009/10 period how, after a few years of settling, not only they are generally good workers with strong ethics, but also birth more entrepreneurship expansion and development which will be a lot better for Australian economy than skilled migrants.
FACT: It will also will save us billions of dollars from running offshore detention centres
The sources from ABC and Sydney Morning Herald outlines the budget breakdown for how government roughly spends over on average since between 2013 and 2015 data, alone about A$1.35 Billion annually in running Asylum detention centres. This is a big number for the budget. Although this campaign isn’t about political pressuring, it is worth noting in the context that the Australian government shouldn’t be spending that much money for detaining merely a few thousands of people roughly across all detention centres. Here are the breakdowns of the costs from ABC:
$686 million for service provision by SERCO, $103 million for the lease of some detention facilities, $53 million for the Red Cross and $107 million for freight, charter and other travel costs.
“The health services (cost) around $206 million and the rest is odds and sods,” – Martin Bowles (department of secretary in 2013)
While Sydney morning herald (2014/2015 data) states:
during the last financial year the immigration department spent $474.1 million to operate the offshore processing centre on Nauru that holds 895 people, including children and family groups. According to the documents, this amount included $24.7 million on health care services while $323.5 million was spent on welfare services, food supplies and security.
Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island detention centre, which currently holds 1035 male asylum seekers. and has recently been plagued by unrest and protests, cost the government $437.6 million to run. This also includes $30.5 million spent on health care services and $344.7 million spent on welfare services.
Transfers between both islands and Colombo in Sri Lanka during 2013/14 were facilitated by the Australian Federal Police, which cost about $8.3 million. The AFP does not provide transfers to detention centres within Australia, the documents said.
Meanwhile, the detention centre on Christmas Island cost $318 million to operate. This amount is likely to go down next year as all children and their families on the island were removed to a Darwin detention facility in December as promised by former immigration minister Scott Morrison. Yet despite the promise they would live in the community, the children are still being held in the Blaydin Point facility.
There’s a link to the economic breakdown on the savings from the Right Now (Human Rights Observer) article about how much in 2012/2013 “Community Processing” would actually save Australia a lot of money and actually would yield more potential investment growth if there’s a good integration and education program for these refugees.
Despite periodic bouts of hysteria about community safety and national security, the reality is that community processing poses no risk to the public. Asylum seekers on Bridging Visas have strict reporting requirements, and of the 12,100 people released into the community since November 2011, only five have been charged with a crime.
As well as having the neat side effect of not destroying the lives of already traumatised people or making a mockery of our human rights obligations, community processing would save Australia hundreds of millions dollars. A 2011 UNHCR expert report estimated the cost of mandatory detention to be $339 per asylum seeker per day. By contrast, the cost of community processing was estimated at between $7 and $39 per asylum seeker a day, depending on the level of government support provided. These figures are consistent with government information which places payments under the Asylum Seeker Assistance scheme at $438.41 per person per fortnight, or $31 a day. Non-government organisations estimate that around 30% of asylum seekers living in the community receive such government benefits.
Community processing would therefore save up to $333 per person per day. Even adopting the highest UNHCR estimate of $39 a day – on the assumption that the government should and would be providing funding – and taking the Department of Immigration’s initial estimate of an average of 8,400 asylum seekers in detention over 2012-2013, this would equate to a saving of at least $900,000 for the 2012 financial year. That is before the cost of Nauru and Manus Island are even factored in. Community processing is vastly cheaper, vastly more humane and it has been proven to work.
With our Asylum seekers on the Bridging Visa are suffering – 10 reasons Asylum Seekers Suffer under bridging visa – At the very least as a community, if we can’t do much politically, help the ones that are already here. Asylum Seekers who are on bridging visa E can legally volunteer and contribute to your business and community. In exchange, you can support them with accommodation and food while they are waiting for their protection visa to be processed.