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Australia’s new Prime Minister – What does this mean for migration?

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Migration

(Photo sourced from the Prime Minister’s Facebook page)

On 23 May 2022, leader of the Australian Labor Party Mr. Anthony Albanese was sworn in as the 31st Prime Minister of Australia. While you were either ecstatic or displeased by the result, or more likely somewhere in the middle, it is important to know what this party’s newly elected status will mean for various sectors. In particular, let’s take a look at what the election’s outcome will mean for migration policies, potential new programs and beneficial reforms coming migrants’ way. Australia’s tourism sector, a recognised driver of the Australian economy, took a big and prolonged hit since 2020. Labor has expressed intentions to aid Australia’s economic recovery by a few means – one is by reinforcing multicultural Australia and its migration policies.

PALM Scheme

Labor has indicated its intentions to reform the already successful Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to create a renewed interest in the program and encourage a rise in Australia’s migration numbers. The interest in the program also comes at a time where recently, the China-Solomon Islands security pact was signed. Revamping the program to generate more popularity in the Pacific will not only grow Australia’s migration numbers, but also bolster Australia’s international relationships and development assistance policies, particularly in the Pacific.

Migrant Protection

Labor has vowed to combat the exploitation of temporary migrants. Employers in Australia have consistently been ousted for underpayment, unethical labour-hire practices and zero measures to protect temporary migrant workers that come forward. Labor has indicated existing rules will be reformed to ensure temporary migrants are paid in accordance with what an Australian employee would receive, are protected by Australian workplace law and are provided protection when reporting migrant exploitation. The Labor party have specified that these protections will also extend to PALM scheme visa-holders.

Regional and Skilled Migration

Labor intends to reform existing regional migration programs and encourage an even bigger number of skilled migrants to find employment in rural and regional areas, but only where skill gaps in the labour market exist. The current skill gaps are different in each Australian state and so, while the skill gaps may remain the same, there will be an increase in the number of positions that are offered to migrants where they can fill a skill shortage.

Progressive removal of ‘Permanently Temporary’

While there are pathways for migrants to achieve permanent residency status, not all visa-holders are entitled to this opportunity. Labor has expressed an intention to create more pathways for migrants to achieve permanent residency and even citizenship where they have deemed this opportunity appropriate. Time will tell where these openings exist, but for now, there seems to be a focus on temporary visa-holders who have skill-sets that combat the shortages in Australia.

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