The MasterChef effect is finally manipulating our migration intake

Some food for thought.

Graph for The MasterChef effect is finally manipulating our migration intake

Today’s mystery ingredient: economic growth. Source: Herald Sun

Say what you will about MasterChef's ratings, you can't deny the impact it and other cooking shows have had on the economy.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, spending at restaurants and cafes has boomed over the past couple of years. MasterChef has already boosted Coles' sales of particular products by over 1400 per cent, and it's clear that the rise in foodie culture triggered by the show has us spending more on a eating out.

As you can see in the chart below, spending on food has outpaced growth in many other consumer sectors. 

Graph for The MasterChef effect is finally manipulating our migration intake

Chief executive of Restaurant & Catering Australia John Hart has another explanation. He says that spending on food has risen on the back of an ageing population that prefers to eat out and an increased focus on tourism, which has also driven spending in the sector.

However, he is willing to admit that MasterChef and other food reality shows have played a role in fuelling the trend.

The rise of the restaurant scene has also had another unintended consequence: it has seen cooks overtake accountants in Australia’s annual skilled migration intake. 

Accountants have dominated the intake for some time. It’s caused a fair bit of controversy, given suggestions that we already have an oversupply of accounting graduates.

In case you are wondering, that spike in accounting applications in 2010-11 was attributed to more relaxed migration rules that saw more international students studying locally apply for visas after graduation. These rules have since been tightened to stop international students from piling into one degree in the hopes of attaining a visa after studying.

You can see what professions Australia is looking for on this skill stream list. Interestingly enough, the list recently revised the classification for cooks. It’s now asking for chefs, adding this caveat to the visa: "occupation excludes positions in fast food or takeaway food service". 

Got a question? Let us know in the comments below or contact the reporter @HarrisonPolites on Twitter.

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