IMMIGRATION is a vital element of the financial and social wellbeing of Australia. The next federal government, regardless of what side of the political fence it is on, needs to improve elements of Australia’s immigration program to allow it to better address our needs.
The persistence in numerical capping of Australia’s migration program has set a limit on certain visatypes. Altered global mobility patterns dictate that consideration be given to a different model for determining migration levels based on more relevant factors required for building capacity, productivity, social cohesion and attracting a more balanced mix of applicants. What is required is strategic planning over a three-year basis, rather than an annual one, with a stronger focus placed on family migration to meet the family reunion demands of our ever- growing numbers of skilled and humanitarian visa holders.
Regional Australia urgently needs skilled population, and the government should focus on encouraging migration to regional Australia to build that important part of this nation.
Administratively speaking, increased funding is required to allow the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to more efficiently handle processing of the huge annual number of visa applications. There is also a need to increase funding for the assistance and support of migrants, especially in the humanitarian sector, to facilitate integration into the Australian society.
A new federal government needs to provide leadership, in a bipartisan manner, to promote the benefits of migration, while discouraging its use as a ‘political football’ in the overall interest of Australia and Australians.
Angela Julian-Armitage is the National President and Qld/NT State President of the Migration Institute of Australia and a practising Barrister at the Queensland Bar. Angela operates a Migration Law practice and assists solicitors and RMAs with Review and Appeal work in the area of Migration Law. In addition to her Migration Law expertise, Angela conducts a wide-ranging commercial practice.