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The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme and Australian Agriculture visa program – how will they work?

In 2021, the Australian Government made a series of announcements regarding visa programs to fill labour shortages in the agricultural sector. These included merging the existing Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) into the new Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme and, separately, creating a new Australian Agriculture visa program. This FlagPost examines how the new programs will operate and what the key differences between them will be.  Read more...

Proposed changes to the Migration Act: Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2021

Following the defeat of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019 (the 2019 Bill) in the Senate on 20 October 2021, the Government has reintroduced the Bill with a number of changes which reflect the amendments moved by the Government in the Senate during the debate on the 2019 Bill. The focus of this Flagpost is to explain these changes and their intended effect. Read more...

Mapping Social Cohesion 2021: immigration and diversity in a time of closed borders

The report of the 15th Scanlon Mapping Social Cohesion survey was released on 30 November 2021. The survey again indicates that social cohesion in Australia remains strong, showing general resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. A closer look, including through a new interview component, reveals where parts of the community may be more affected by the impact of the pandemic, and raises questions about shifts in Australians’ views and perceptions more generally.  Read more...

From Vietnam to Afghanistan: humanitarian visas for staff assisting Australian forces

With the news that Australia has recently withdrawn the last of its troops from Afghanistan, attention has turned to the fate of Afghans who have worked with foreign forces. There is growing concern that these people are at risk of persecution from the Taliban, as it seeks to reassert control across Afghanistan. The Australian Government is granting humanitarian visas to Afghans who are at risk due to their work assisting Australian forces, but is facing increasing pressure, including from the Opposition and former soldiers, to move more quickly as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. This is not the first time Australia has offered sanctuary to local staff who have assisted Australian... Read more...

Migrant amnesties: what has Australia done in the past?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted calls for a visa amnesty for migrants working irregularly in Australia. A look back at policy history shows that Australia has provided very few instances of any kind of migrant amnesty, whether for people in the country irregularly, visa overstayers, or people working in breach of their visa conditions. These instances were some decades ago, when the migration and visa systems were rather different from now. Read more...

Mapping Social Cohesion 2020: are we 'all in this together'?

The 2020 edition of the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion report was released on 4 February 2021. In a year when so much seemed to change, the report found that Australia’s stability and resilience largely held firm. However, there are some surprises in what is different and what has stayed the same. Read more...

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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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