Labour Mobility and Migration News

Welcome to the second edition of Devpolicy Labour Mobility and Migration News. We're sending it to you because of your interest in labour mobility and migration. If you want to unsubscribe, see the bottom of the email.

Please forward this newsletter onto colleagues and anyone with an interest in labour mobility and migration. If you have received this from a friend, subscribe here. If you have any feedback, news or suggestions, please email henry.sherrell@anu.edu.au. We’re always looking for blog contributions and would welcome submissions on labour mobility and migration.

The Australian Seasonal Worker Program shows strong growth
Australia’s only dedicated unskilled migration program, the Seasonal Worker Program, saw strong growth of 50 per cent in 2015-16. There are still ten times as many backpackers as seasonal workers in horticulture, but this rapid growth has exceeded expectations and holds promise for the future.
 
Can standard migration programs better facilitate migration from the Pacific?
 
There is a pronounced lack of migration from small developing countries to Australia under standard migration programs. Henry Sherrell writes Pacific and Timor-Leste citizens represent just 0.3 per cent of international student commencements in Australia, 0.4 per cent of temporary skilled workers and 1.1 per cent of all permanent residency visas. With standard migration programs clearly failing to cater for Pacific and Timor citizens, the importance of bespoke migration pathways may be more appropriate to facilitate additional migration outcomes. The Seasonal Worker Program and the new microstates visa are two examples.
 
Do unskilled migrants push down living standards?
 
A cross-country backlash against migration has occurred in 2016. President-elect Trump’s victory in the United States, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the rising popularity of the far-right across Europe can be traced, at least in part, to concerns about migration. Matthew Dornan profiles an article in the Economist about unskilled migration. Here in Australia, unskilled migration hasn’t been a policy concern given the strong bias towards skilled migration. This has a large unseen cost: the opportunity of Pacific citizens to work in Australia.
 
Migration as a climate change adaption strategy
 
A handful of countries are on the frontline of rising sea levels. Carmen Voigt-Graf writes about the Kiribati Government’s National Labour Migration Policy, introduced in 2015. She outlines the priorities identified by the Government – migrant rights, opportunities for decent employment, development benefits and improving administration – and notes Australia and New Zealand’s ‘special responsibility’ to support these efforts.
 
Migration in the news
 
Donald Trump’s victory catalysed a new round of public debate on temporary migration in Australia. Henry Sherrell weighs on Labor’s proposed regulatory changes to the 457 visa program in Crikey ($) and provides comment for The Australian ($).
 
In the Guardian, Henry Sherrell, Anna Boucher and Peter Mares argue against a proposal for temporary parent visas given existing norms about Australian citizenship. Their submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on the same topic is here.
 
An annual survey on Australian attitudes to social cohesion and migration shows Australians are more alarmed about the state of politics than the impact of migration and minorities. The full report is here.
 
Links and events

Dr. Khalid Koser says we need to think about mass migration in new ways. In this podcast from a recent speech here in Australia, he explains why and how. He probably did not have in mind a United States-Australia refugee swap deal however U.S. officials have already arrived in Australia to establish this process.
 
The Australasian Aid Conference is being held in February 2017 and will include sessions on labour mobility and migration. Registration is now open.
 
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