To start off with a pleasing scenario, imagine yourself living in Australia with your family under a Business Migration Visa. Your business is making great profits and much to the delight of the Australian government, generating high tax revenues. So as a tax paying resident whose business is serving the Australian economy so positively, you would fairly expect the Australian government to reward you and your family with some benefits, presumably a smooth and easy path to permanent residency and Australian citizenship. However, getting your permanent residency and citizenship is only the endgame. What precedes it is your life as a temporary Australian resident who is constantly wondering whether life as a migrant worker would be truly rewarding. As of recently, these expectations are at an all-time high under the new Labour government that does not shy away from making the most ideal immigration policy suggestions.
Acknowledging labour shortages and the “wage theft’’
A 2020 committee report by Labour senators revealed systematic flaws that were responsible for the state of the underpaid temporary immigrant workers. These system flaws ranged from a shortage in the labour force, particularly in rural regions, to an overall minimised pay scale for immigrant workers, termed as a ‘wage theft’. The implications of it could predictably be a discouraged immigrant workforce who would fail to see value in their quest for permanent residency and citizenship. The other side of the coin reveals that providing more employment to temporary immigrants at a lower wage while local qualified Australians are made to take a back seat is likely to create civil disharmony.
Much of the following policy changes aimed at tackling these issues are predictive and yet to be enforced by the Labour Party only one month into office, yet these policies were heavily advertised pre-election. This presents a room for considering what this new regime would aim to achieve with these policy changes and whether such changes are to be feasible.
1. All Visas might likely be rewarded with Full-time Work rights.
- Make use of the working capabilities of all visa holders during their stay in Australia.
- Provide an initial solution for labour shortage.
At face value, full-time work permit for all visas seems like a far-fetched ideal that is too good to be practical. However, the Labour regime remains firm on its stance that all Australian residents, irrespective of the temporary nature of their visas, should be recognised for their qualification and potential to serve the Australian economy by contributing their labour.
By not limiting full-time work permits to only skilled migrants, the regime aims to provide a solution to labour shortages by ‘fine-tuning’ the sporadic contributions of temporary migrants with the Australian workforce.
The Labour Party intends on working hands-on with the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) in taking systematic steps on an administrative level in order to realise this rather debatable immigration objective.
2. Salaries of migrant workers to be adjusted (increased) for inflation.
- Bringing the salaries of temporary immigrant workers and citizens on level.
- Encourage more temporary residents to join the labour force.
This should come as no surprise since the previous Liberal government had a reputation for prioritising private employers, thus stagnating the pay scale of temporary immigrant workers to its early 2013 margin. As the new labour regime aims to patronise Australia’s labour force, re-adjusting the immigrant workers’ salaries for inflation to match that of the citizens on the same occupational levels is likely to encourage temporary immigrants to see value in their efforts at the workplace and aim for higher employability.
3. Reformation of regional migration programmes.
- Identify regions where skill-gaps exist.
- Employ more immigrants in the rural and regional sectors.
It has been long expected that the new Labour regime is likely to introduce new rules into the Immigation sector, particularly aimed at Australia’s regional migration programs, subsets of which are the Seasonal Worker Program and Working Holiday Maker Program. Specific objectives include the identification of skill-gaps in the workforce in rural areas. Initiatives to encourage more immigrant workers to take up jobs in these rural regions are not just limited to filling in the labour shortages in such areas. The long-term aim is to create a work ecosystem which develops into an employment industry of its own that provides sufficient employment to immigrant workers in the rural regions.
4. Prevent discriminatory wages for immigrant workers.
- Prevent discrepancies in salaries of temporary migrant workers.
- Enforce full-implementation of Australian workplace law.
This sector will perhaps require the most challenging policy measures due to the superficially voluntary nature of immigrant workers agreeing to unfair wages. The Labour Party’s initiatives in providing protection to these immigrant workers from employers must be rooted in accurate identification of the gaps in Australian workplace laws. Making legal adjustments to workplace laws specially for immigrants presents a huge time-factor challenge. However, such initiatives as early as one month into office shall provide the Labour Party with sufficient time in the next 5 years of their regime to legalise policies in favour of temporary immigrant workers.
5. Visas to be efficiently streamlined for faster Citizenship
- Fast PR and citizenship for highly eligible foreing nationals.
- Allow employers to retain a more permanent workforce.
Streamlining all temporary and permanent migration programs to lead to faster permanent residency and citizenship has been one of the core ideologies of the Labour Party, with its famed campaigns against all forms of visa processing delays. What this means for eligible foreign nationals is that their chances of securing permanent residency will move up the priority list of the Australian Immigration department. A major positive implication would be such that working immigrants will have to worry less about losing their employment due to the uncertainty of having their permanent visas delayed.
As for employers, they can focus on recruiting more qualified individuals from the immigrant labour force without constantly having to worry about high employee turnover due to visa cancellations.
Bridging West is a leading Australian Registered Migration Agency that has helped lots of businessmen and skilled professionals migrate to Australia in the last 17 years. If you want to check your eligibility for Australian Visa, please fill up this form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.