Do migrants succeed in the Australian labour market?

further evidence on job quality

Stéphane Mahuteau, P. N. (Raja) Junankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since the election of a Coalition Government in Australia in 1996, new immigrants have had to face tougher selection criteria and increased financial pressure. Most studies so far have ignored the issue of the quality of the jobs obtained by new immigrants to Australia and whether the policy change has contributed to improve or worsen job quality among immigrants. More specifically, do stronger incentives to find jobs quickly involve a bigger drop in occupational levels or delayed upward mobility? Job quality is thought to be related to the channels of information used by immigrants in their job search. Some studies suggest that jobs found via networks of same origin migrants are of lower quality. It is the purpose of this paper to provide some clues to answer these questions. Using the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA), we estimate the probabilities for immigrants to find “good jobs”, controlling for their initial employability upon arrival in Australia. We test several models involving various definitions of “good job”, from objective conditions, based on the nature and status of the occupation, to more subjective conditions based on job satisfaction. We show that the sole effect of being a second cohort migrant is beneficial for the probability to both find a job and a “good job”. Hence, migrants arrived after the policy change are indeed of better quality, even though the effect on job quality is rather small. Moreover, informal channels of information on job prospects have been slightly more efficient in enabling second cohort migrants to find good jobs, even though they still provide individuals with a disadvantage compared to formal channels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalMacquarie economics research papers
Issue number3/2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • migrants
  • job quality
  • immigration policy
  • migrant networks

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