Labour Mobility and Migration News

Welcome to the Devpolicy Labour Mobility and Migration News! We'll be sending it out regularly to inform you about our latest research and other key developments on this important topic. Not surprisingly, it will have a strong focus on the Pacific, but we'll venture beyond that as well. 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.

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Stephen Howes
Director, Development Policy Centre

The backpacker tax made headlines this month as the Turnbull Government reduced the rate from 32.5 per cent to 19 per cent. Stephen Howes and Henry Sherrell argue that systematic exploitation of backpackers in the horticultural industry shows the need for more Pacific seasonal workers in the industry, under a regulated program that works. For a longer read, here is their submission (number 27) to a recent Australian Parliamentary inquiry into the backpacker tax.

In very recent news, the Victorian Government has announced they plan to regulate the labour hire industry, supporting the recommendations of the Inquiry into the Labour Hire and Industry and Insecure Work. 
Pacific Possible: Labour Mobility - the ten billion dollar prize

If you haven't yet seen it, take a look at our report with the World Bank on labour mobility. Download the full report, or the four-page summary, or listen to the launch podcast. It's full of ideas of how to promote labour mobility for the Pacific, and we try to quantify the benefits - that's the ten billion dollar prize.

One of the most interesting findings of the report - blogged about here - is that labour mobility is already worth 80% of Pacific GDP. Which suggests that it deserves a lot more attention than it has been getting.

Seasonal workers helping themselves

Peter Bumseng – a ten year ni-Vanuatu veteran of New Zealand's seasonal work program – recently spoke at the State of the Pacific conference about his community program to support the families of those undertaking seasonal work. Henry Sherrell interviews him about how the support program works and what motivated him to build it.

How development-friendly are Australia's migration policies?

Robin Davies argues that the Center for Global Development is wrong to rank Australia as high as third on its migration and development index. In his first post, Robin argues that the "humanitarian components of CGD’s migration policy assessment are problematic and given surprisingly little weight in the overall assessment." In the second, he examines the development impact of Australia's permanent migration program, which he argues is middling rather than world-beating.

How many refugees should Australia take every year?

On Inside Story, Henry Sherrell and Peter Mares run the numbers, and argue, among other things, that we should increase our annual intake of refugees to 33,000. 

Events and links

The OECD released their annual 2016 International Migration Outlook report in September, opening their editorial with, “The public is losing faith in the capacity of governments to manage migration”. This year’s edition features chapters on the local impacts of migration (chapter 3) and how OECD countries can better respond to international migration following environmental and geopolitical shocks (chapter 4).  

The Australasian Aid Conference is being held in February 2017 and will include a session on labour mobility and migration. Registration is now open.

If you have an event touching on labour mobility or migration, please email with the details.

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