THE case for higher immigration as a driver for economic growth is far from proven, as is the notion that more immigrants can counter the negative effects of population ageing, the Productivity Commission says.
In an analysis of the "big Australia" debate in its 2011 annual report published yesterday, the commission said the economic impact of immigration "is sometimes clouded by misperception".
"Two benefits that are sometimes attributed to immigration, despite mixed or poor evidence to support them, are that immigration is an important driver of per capita economic growth, (and) immigration could alleviate the problem of population ageing," it says.
The commission also notes immigration doesn't affect household wages overall, though particular sectors could be adversely affected if there were a large influx of skilled immigrants.
And it warns that trying to slow the impact of an ageing population on the economy by bringing in young workers is only a sugar hit.
"Any effect would be short-lived," the report says. "This is because immigrants themselves age, and progressively higher levels of migration would be needed to sustain the current age structure into the future."
No surprises here. Immigration restrictionists have been pointing out for decades that a) immigration does not raise GDP per capita, and b) immigration cannot solve our ageing population woes. Despite the dogmatic claims of the open-borders crowd, there is no legitimate economic rationale for ongoing mass immigration. In short, Australia is being transformed for nothing.