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.