Essential Report

Immigration levels

Oct 26, 2021

Q. Do you think the levels of immigration into Australia over the past ten years have been…?

Oct’21 Jan’19 Apr’18 Oct’16
Much too low 5% 4% 1% 4%
A little too low 11% 7% 4% 8%
About right 36% 26% 23% 28%
A little too high 17% 23% 27% 22%
Much too high 20% 33% 37% 28%
Don’t know 11% 6% 7% 10%
TOTAL: Too low 16% 12% 5% 12%
TOTAL: Too high 37% 56% 64% 50%
  • Significantly fewer people now think levels of immigration into Australia over the last decade have been too high, compared to January 2019 and prior.
  • Over a third (37%) of people now think immigration levels are too high, compared to 56% in January 2019, 64% in April 2018 and 50% in October 2016.
  • This is driven by an increase of people who think immigration levels are about right (36% from 26% in January 2019).
  • 16% of people now think immigration levels are too low.
Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Much too low 5% 6% 4% 6% 5% 4% 7% 3% 7% 7%
A little too low 11% 12% 10% 14% 8% 12% 13% 9% 16% 11%
About right 36% 37% 35% 40% 36% 34% 38% 39% 43% 31%
A little too high 17% 16% 17% 16% 17% 17% 16% 21% 9% 13%
Much too high 20% 20% 20% 13% 20% 26% 18% 23% 10% 28%
Don’t know 11% 8% 14% 11% 13% 8% 8% 5% 15% 9%
TOTAL: Too low 16% 18% 14% 20% 13% 15% 20% 12% 23% 19%
TOTAL: Too high 37% 37% 37% 29% 38% 43% 34% 44% 19% 41%
Base (n) 1,781 875 906 533 601 647 636 610 157 220
  • Those aged over 55 are more likely than younger cohorts to think immigration levels are too high (43% to 38% of those aged 35-54, and 29% of those aged 18-34). A quarter (26%) of those over 55 think the levels are much too high.
  • Among voters, Coalition voters (44%) are most likely to think immigration levels are too high, followed by minor and independent party voters (41%). Greens voters (19%) are least likely to think this. About a third (34%) of Labor voters think the levels are too high.

Views towards immigration

Oct 26, 2021

Q. The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet recently called for an increase in Australia’s immigration levels.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

  TOTAL:

Agree

TOTAL:

Disagree

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
Increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure 63% 11% 31% 32% 25% 8% 4%
Immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy 51% 20% 18% 33% 29% 11% 9%
Increasing immigration levels would equip businesses with the skilled workers they need to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are eased 50% 22% 16% 33% 28% 13% 9%
Increasing immigration levels would help to address Australia’s growing skills shortages as the population ages 49% 22% 14% 35% 29% 13% 9%
Increasing immigration levels would create more competition for jobs and slow wage growth 48% 21% 18% 30% 31% 13% 7%

 

TOTAL: Agree Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure 63% 62% 64% 54% 65% 70% 66% 65% 59% 64%
Immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy 51% 54% 48% 53% 50% 50% 56% 54% 60% 39%
Increasing immigration levels would equip businesses with the skilled workers they need to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are eased 50% 52% 47% 50% 47% 51% 54% 52% 56% 42%
Increasing immigration levels would help to address Australia’s growing skills shortages as the population ages 49% 51% 46% 48% 46% 52% 53% 51% 57% 39%
Increasing immigration levels would create more competition for jobs and slow wage growth 48% 51% 45% 50% 50% 46% 51% 48% 45% 51%
Base (n) 1,781 875 906 533 601 647 636 610 157 220
  • Older cohorts are more likely to agree than younger groups that increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure. 70% of those over 55 agree with this statement, compared to 65% of those aged 35-54 and 54% of those aged 18-34. Agreement with this statement is consistent across voters.
  • Men are more likely than women to agree that immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy (54% to 48% respectively).
  • Minor and independent party voters are least likely to agree that immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy (39%), that increasing immigration levels would equip businesses with the skilled workers they need (42%), and help to address Australia’s growing skills shortages as the population ages (39%).
TOTAL: Agree People who say the levels of immigration have been

too low

People who say the levels of immigration have been

about right

People who say the levels of immigration have been

too high

Increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure 47% 62% 76%
Immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy 74% 60% 34%
Increasing immigration levels would equip businesses with the skilled workers they need to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are eased 77% 58% 34%
Increasing immigration levels would help to address Australia’s growing skills shortages as the population ages 75% 56% 34%
Increasing immigration levels would create more competition for jobs and slow wage growth 47% 48% 53%
Base (n) 277 645 694
  • Those who think immigration levels have been too high in the past decade are less likely to agree with the benefits and business need for immigration.
  • Those who think immigration levels have been too low are more likely to agree that immigration is vital for business and economy (74% to 60% ‘about right’ and 34% ‘too high’), and that increasing immigration levels would equip businesses with the skilled workers they need (77% to 58% and 34%), and help to address Australia’s growing skills shortages as the population ages (75% to 56% and 34%).
  • Those who think the levels are too high are more likely to think increasing levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure (76% to 47%).

Views towards temporary work visas

Oct 26, 2021

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about temporary work visas in Australia?

  TOTAL:

Agree

TOTAL:

Disagree

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
Temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour 72% 8% 41% 31% 20% 5% 3%
Everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status 67% 10% 34% 33% 24% 7% 3%
Temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages 59% 14% 19% 40% 26% 8% 6%
Temporary work visas have been used to drive down wages and working conditions in Australia 47% 16% 17% 30% 37% 12% 4%
  • There is high agreement with the need to provide equivalent pay and conditions to migrant workers. 72% of people agree temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour and 67% agree that all workers in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions.
  • There is less consensus as to whether temporary work visas have been used to drive down wages and working conditions in Australia. Just 47% agree with this statement, and a further 37% neither agree nor disagree.
TOTAL: Agree Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour 72% 71% 73% 60% 70% 85% 74% 77% 74% 64%
Everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status 67% 67% 66% 57% 66% 75% 71% 70% 75% 55%
Temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages 59% 61% 58% 55% 57% 66% 63% 66% 63% 46%
Temporary work visas have been used to drive down wages and working conditions in Australia 47% 50% 44% 49% 50% 43% 53% 44% 51% 46%
Base (n) 1,781 875 906 533 601 647 636 610 157 220
  • Those aged over 55 are more likely than younger cohorts to agree that temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour (85% to 65% younger cohorts), everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status (75% to 62%), and temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages (66% to 56%).
  • Minor/independent party voters are less likely than other voters to agree that temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour (64% to 75% all other voters), everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status (55% to 71%), and temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages (46% to 64%).
TOTAL: Agree People who say the levels of immigration have been

too low

People who say the levels of immigration have been

about right

People who say the levels of immigration have been

too high

Temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour 71% 73% 75%
Everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status 78% 67% 64%
Temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages 71% 66% 52%
Temporary work visas have been used to drive down wages and working conditions in Australia 49% 44% 56%
Base (n) 277 645 694
  • Irrespective of views towards immigration, the majority agree temporary work visas should be used to cover genuine skills shortages, not to provide cheap labour.
  • While overall there is majority agreement that everyone who works in Australia should be entitled to the same pay and working conditions regardless of their visa status, those who say the levels of immigration have been too low are more likely to agree with this than those who think the levels have been about right or too high (78% to 67% and 64% respectively).
  • Those who say the levels of immigration have been too low are also more likely to agree that temporary work visas are essential for Australian businesses to fill skills shortages (71% to 66% and 52%).
  • Those who say immigration levels have been too high are more likely to agree temporary work visas have been used to drive down wages and working conditions in Australia (56% to 44% ‘about right’ and 49% ‘too low’).

Attitude towards Australia first hiring

May 12, 2020

Q. Last weekend Kristina Kenneally, a NSW senator, called for the federal government to reduce the number of temporary migrant worker visas permitted after the Covid-19 outbreak. She argues that Australian businesses should prioritise training and hiring Australians for roles, rather than seeking temporary workers to fill skill-shortages.

To what extent, do you support or oppose this idea of “Australia first” hiring?

    Gender Age Group
  Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
Strongly support 41% 36% 46% 27% 42% 53%
Somewhat support 26% 28% 23% 25% 26% 25%
Neither support, nor oppose 21% 21% 21% 30% 24% 10%
Somewhat oppose 6% 7% 4% 10% 3% 5%
Strongly oppose 6% 8% 5% 9% 5% 6%
TOTAL: Support 67% 64% 70% 52% 68% 78%
TOTAL: Oppose 12% 15% 9% 18% 8% 12%
Base (n) 1,067 532 535 341 341 385

 

  Federal Voting Intention
Labor Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Strongly support 41% 44% 23% 61%
Somewhat support 22% 31% 26% 21%
Neither support, nor oppose 24% 15% 34% 12%
Somewhat oppose 7% 4% 7% 4%
Strongly oppose 6% 5% 10% 2%
TOTAL: Support 63% 75% 50% 82%
TOTAL: Oppose 13% 10% 17% 7%
Base (n) 306 418 86 143
  • Kristina Kenneally’s “Australia first” hiring approach is supported by 67% of participants; women (70%), those over 55 (78%), Coalition (75%) and other party voters (82%) are more likely to support this approach than men (64%), 18-34 year olds (52%) and Greens voters (50%).

Immigration and Religion

Sep 2, 2014

Q. When a family applies to migrate to Australia, should it be possible for them to be rejected purely on the basis of their religion?

 

 

Total

 

 

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Vote other

 

Feb 2011

Should be rejected on basis of religion

21%

16%

27%

9%

29%

19%

Should not be rejected on basis of religion

63%

71%

53%

84%

56%

65%

Don’t know

17%

13%

20%

7%

15%

15%

63% believed that when a family applies to migrate to Australia, they should not be rejected purely on the basis of their religion and 21% think it should be possible to reject purely based on religion. These figures are similar to when this question was asked in 2011.

There were no substantial differences across age and gender groups.

Liberal voters were a little more supportive of being able to reject based on religion (27%) and Greens voters were strongly opposed (84%).

Perceived intake of asylum seekers as a proportion of annual immigration

Sep 26, 2011

Q.  From what you have read and heard, what percentage of Australia’s annual immigration intake are asylum seekers arriving by boat?

7 Jun 2010 This week Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
50% or more 10% 12% 11% 13% 10%
About 25% 15% 11% 10% 12% 6%
About 10% 13% 10% 9% 10% 8%
About 5% 15% 16% 18% 17% 16%
1% or less 18% 25% 26% 24% 39%
Don’t know 30% 27% 25% 23% 21%

Twenty three per cent (23%) of respondents think that the proportion of asylum seeker intake by boat is 25% or more of the annual immigration intake.

Ten per cent (10%) of respondents think that the percentage of boat arrivals is about 10% of annual immigration intake and 16% believe it to be about 5%.

Twenty five per cent (25%) of respondents believe that the proportion of asylum seekers arriving by boat constitutes 1% or less of our annual immigration intake and 27% of respondents don’t know.

Greens voters are the most likely to think that the percentage was 1% or less, with 39% of Greens respondents selecting this response.

The proportion of respondents believing the proportion to be ‘1% or less’ has shifted 7 points up from 18% to 25% since 7 June 2010.

Comments »

Immigration and Religion

Feb 28, 2011

Q. When a family applies to migrate to Australia, should it be possible for them to be rejected purely on the basis of their religion?

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Should be rejected on basis of religion 19% 17% 24% 10%
Should not be rejected on basis of religion 65% 67% 63% 85%
Don’t know 15% 16% 13% 5%

65% believed that when a family applies to migrate to Australia, they should not be rejected purely on the basis of their religion and 19% think it should be possible to reject purely based on religion. There were no substantial differences across age and gender groups.

Liberal voters were a little more supportive of being able to reject based on religion (24%) and Greens voters were strongly opposed (85%).

Comments »

So where is the Left?

Oct 26, 2010

First Published on The Drum 26/10/2010

If political progressives want to stop the ALP from drifting to the Right, energetically backing the decision to move women and children out of immigration detention looks like a good place to start.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Immigration minister Chris Bowen took the new minority government’s first truly brave decision last week, yet all they got was a sullen acceptance from a Left still acting like jilted lovers after the disappointments of the election campaign.

Comments »

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