Sharon Daley, Queensland Council of Social Service

Social justice is a very broad term that has local, state, national and international consequences.

According the United Nations social justice is …

an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

The theme for this year's World Day of Justice, on 20 February 2018, is: Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice.

The UN explain that: “Most migration today is linked directly or indirectly to the search for decent work opportunities.”

Employment is a significant factor when migrating more often than not.

Internationally, there are an estimated 258 million migrants and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there are roughly 150 million migrant workers.

Among migrant workers, 56 per cent are men and 44 per cent are women.

Migrant workers account for 4.4 per cent of all workers and have higher labour force participation rates than non-migrants globally (73 per cent and 64 per cent respectively).

In Australia we hear arguments that we should reduce immigration due to an impact on the jobs market and the welfare system. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in November 2016 there were 1.7 million recent migrants and temporary residents of which 65 per cent were employed.

Overall, men were more likely to be employed full time than women 87 per cent of employed male migrants with Australian citizenship were employed full time compared with 68 per cent of females.

In terms of the impact on employment and the welfare system by migrants, an interesting study published by Migration Council Australia concluded:

'The economic impact of migration flows through into every aspect of the economy. It has a profound positive impact not just on population growth, but also on labour participation and employment, on wages and incomes, on our national skills base and on net productivity.' (Migration Council Australia 2015, p. 2)

Now that has to create a more socially just environment for all of us.

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