Fixing Australia’s broken migration system

THE HON CLARE O’NEIL MP
MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
MINISTER FOR CYBER SECURITY

THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
MINISTER FOR SKILLS & TRAINING

THE HON JASON CLARE MP
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

THE HON ANDREW GILES MP
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION,
CITIZENSHIP & MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

MEDIA RELEASE

11 December 2023

FIXING AUSTRALIA’S BROKEN MIGRATION SYSTEM

The Albanese Government is today taking a major step forward in reforming Australia’s broken migration system with the biggest reforms to migration in a generation.

The new Migration Strategy will bring migration back to sustainable levels, ensuring we have the skills we need for the future and, ultimately, make sure the system is working in the interests of all Australians.

A once-in-a-generation review into the migration system led by Dr Martin Parkinson found it was a deliberate decision to neglect the system” and that it was “so badly broken” it required a “10-year rebuild”.

The Albanese Government is determined to fix this.

The comprehensive plan reflects the findings of the Parkinson Review, and has five key objectives:

  • Raising living standards by boosting productivity, meeting skills shortages and supporting exports
  • Ensuring a fair go in the workplace by complementing the jobs, wages and conditions of domestic workers and preventing migrant worker exploitation
  • Building stronger communities by better planning for sustainable migration, and giving migrants the opportunity to invest in their lives in Australia through permanent residence and citizenship
  • Strengthening international relationships by building stronger economic and social connections with our regional neighbours and international partners
  • Making the system work by being fast, efficient and fair for migrants and employers

The Migration Strategy is the final piece in a three phase approach to building a prosperous and sustainable Australia.

This year, we have set out how we are delivering more affordable homes through the Housing Australia Future Fund.

We’re unclogging the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline to ensure Australia keeps moving forward.

The final piece of the puzzle is bringing migration back down to sustainable, normal levels. Treasury forecasts show migration is expected to decline substantially over the next financial year.

The Strategy will get migration working for the nation.

If you are a worker, whether local or migrant, this strategy means stronger protections of your wages and conditions.

For businesses, it means getting the skills you need to grow and be more productive, particularly in critical areas like healthcare, the net zero transition, and the digital economy.

For all Australians, it means a better-planned migration system, aiming to strengthen the community you live in and to improve your living standards.

Building on the consensus building reforms at last year’s Jobs and Skills Summit, the Migration Strategy is a plan backed by business and unions, informed by extensive consultation and more than 450 submissions received as part of the Migration Review.

This Strategy is an integral part of a larger ambition to enhance Australia’s employment, education, and skills training sectors, as outlined in the Government’s Employment White Paper.

We are determined to rectify the legacy of mismanagement left by the previous government, including an overwhelming visa backlog, shortcomings in international education, and widespread visa system abuses.

Our mission is clear: to build a migration system that earns the trust and confidence of our citizens and secures a safe and prosperous future for every Australian.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil:

“Our Migration Strategy is a bold plan to get migration working again for all Australians.

“The Strategy helps us get the skills we need – in healthcare, for our net zero transition and in our digital economy.

“We are acting to design out migrant worker exploitation from the system so we can protect wages and conditions for migrants and locals alike.

“This Strategy is about building back integrity into the system, with Treasury forecasts showing that migration is expected to decline substantially over the next financial year.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills & Training Brendan O’Connor:

“The actions we’re taking to improve integrity underscore the Australian values of fairness and inclusion, which are at the heart of our vocational education and training sector. 

“I will continue to work with my cabinet colleagues to reform the VET sector and ensure the Australian Skills Quality Authority has the regulatory powers it needs to prevent and remove non-genuine training providers from the sector. 

“International students and graduates should not be exploited by unscrupulous operators.

“We put a high value on ensuring international students are welcomed, safe and supported and that their contribution is recognised and celebrated in Australia.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“International education is a key national asset – it is the biggest export we don’t dig out of the ground.

“That’s why strengthening the integrity of our international education sector is so important.

“The Albanese Government’s Migration Strategy sends a clear message that we will act to prevent the exploitation of students and protect Australia’s reputation as a high-quality international education provider.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles:

“A strong tripartite approach has informed the Migration Strategy, working with the business community and union movement to secure growth and fairness. This approach will continue as these reforms are implemented and further change is considered.

“The Migration Strategy delivers on our commitment to stamping out migrant worker exploitation. After a decade of neglect, all workers will be better off as visa rules that prevent people speaking up about mistreatment are reformed.”