In today’s blog, we will discuss why Australia should focus on changing its immigration policy.
Immigration is one of the essential ways for Australia to become a more secure and influential country with a thriving economy.
On the surface, Australia’s visa policy may not seem too significant to its overall national strategy. But, it can give many details about its approach towards other countries and its plans for Australia. As an immigrant country with a birth rate far less than the replacement level, Australia largely depends on various visas to fulfil its demand for new people. But oftentimes, the visa strategy of the capital Australian city of Canberra has put in place works against its plan to increase the country’s labour force.
When the Labour Party came into power in May of this year, it was immediately met with a backlog of around 1 million visa applications. This resulted in Clare O’Neil, the new Minister for Home Affairs, analysing Australia’s visa system, which she defined as ‘totally broken.’ She acknowledged that Australia is in a global war for talent and that its present visa policy was a massive obstacle to attracting and retaining skilled migrants. The Minister for Home Affairs stated that Australia would not be an ideal destination because visa processing takes a long time and is quite expensive, and even if a candidate comes to Australia, they would most likely not be able to stay, and the government needs to consider these factors.
Before the review is completed in February 2023, the Australian government has realised that its focus should be on shifting the country’s immigration system away from short-term visas to permanent migration. Building a sense of acceptance and belonging for immigrants is not possible when people don’t have security about their future and it cannot be achieved by a visa system that is tied up in suspicion and robs people of their savings. As one of the aims of immigration is to avert the increase in Australia’s median age, higher visa charges that are impossible to afford for younger people who don’t have much savings is not sensible.
Currently, the lack of ability to adapt the visa system prevents Australia from taking advantage of the global trends and situations in other countries. According to a professor at an Australian university, South Korea’s abundance of skilled youth and labour shortages in Australia sign perfectly. With Australia’s plans to improve relations with South Korea, this situation presents an ideal opportunity to benefit, but an inapt visa system may prove to be a problem.
Australia’s immigration system should be deemed as a key pillar for its international relations. It defines Australia’s point of view regarding the world. Whether it considers people from other countries as a threat or how the country plans to enhance its security, economy and cultural capabilities. The drop in the rate of childbirth in many countries means that those countries with the ability to draw in, facilitate, and retain people will be at a significant advantage.
Australia has the benefit of being an immigrant country. Presently it has a yearly immigration intake of 195,000 individuals. But, in comparison, a significant rival for Australia for skilled immigration, Canada, has a yearly immigration intake of more than 430,000 people, set to increase to 450,000 in 2024. Per the Canadian government estimates, as the U.S. is becoming a less dependable security partner, Canada should focus on increasing its own abilities. This perspective should also be followed by Australia.
A system that instead is easy, fast, cheap and predictable would help Australia to demonstrate that it is an ambitious and confident country.
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