Friday, February 19, 2016

A deal only for the rich

John Key is in Australia, and the Herald is trumpeting the "deal" he's made to allow kiwis there a pathway to citizenship. Except when you look at it, its not that good a deal:

Thousands of Kiwis who arrived in Australia after it tightened its immigration rules in 2001 will now be given an easier path to seek Australian citizenship under certain conditions.

If they earned A$53,000 over five consecutive years ($57,000) between 2001 and today, they will eventually be able to apply for permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a good time series of Australian median earnings, but you can get an idea of the problem by looking at household incomes and wages. On household earnings, Key's deal would exclude anyone living in the bottom 30% of households, and a lot more in higher percentiles if they are in two-income households (see table 1.2, income per week at top of selected percentiles). On wages, the threshold is set just below the 2012 average wage (which remember will be much higher than the median) - but significantly higher than the average earnings for women. So, basicly, Australia will only welcome you if you're rich and male. If you're poor, a woman, took time out of the workforce to raise a family, or if you moved to Australia as a child and haven't entered the workforce yet, you're shit out of luck, there's no possibility of citizenship or residency for you, and you're under permanent threat of deportation.

But hey, Key gets to announce another fabulous "deal" (like the TPPA, remember how great that was?), while Australia gets to keep a captive workforce of kiwi peons with no rights. Everyone's a winner! Except kiwis in Australia who needed our government to actually stick up for them.