Essential Report

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’).

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