The Labor Party and Immigration – Where do They Stand?
The Labor Party’s landslide win in the Victorian State Election on the weekend has caused speculation on the outcome of the 2019 Federal Election. Most are confident the Labor Party will win the election but if they do, how will this impact on immigration?
In recent documents, Bill Shorten’s Labor Party outlined the following immigration policies.
- Labor will adopt a long term approach when setting annual immigration levels. They will take into account that Australia operates in a global economy with an increasing number of skilled and other workers wanting to migrate to Australia.
- Labor will use Australia’s skilled migration program to respond to falling workplace participation due to an aging population and the demand for higher skill levels and mobility.
- Labor’s immigration planning framework will take into account net overseas migration and its impact on employment and training for Australian residents.
- Labor will work towards aligning permanent and temporary migration programs to assist in converting temporary visa holders to permanent visa holders and citizenship. Labor will strongly encourage employers to sponsor temporary visa holders for permanent residency, especially where the visa holder is working under a successful arrangement and has a priority skill which is in shortage in Australia.
Labor’s migration program will:
- include safeguards to ensure employers try to fill positions with local workers
- encourage skilled migrants to take up jobs in rural and regional locations where there are identified skills gaps
- allow Australia to compete internationally for skilled labour
- include the necessary tests, checks and resources to ensure the integrity of the system by addressing gaps in the skills migration program and recognise the primary right of Australian workers to Australian jobs
- protect temporary overseas skilled workers from exploitation
- supplement domestic training policies, targeting skills shortages that cannot be filled locally
- recognise particular skill needs within states and territories and metropolitan, regional and rural communities
While Labor believes both permanent and temporary skilled migration are important to sustainable economic growth, their preference is for permanent skilled migration. Permanent migrants offer a stable source of skilled workers and tend to have a vested interest in Australia’s future. As such, they work towards integrating in all aspects of the Australian community.
Labor recognises that skilled migrants will bring their families to Australia and their policies aim to ensure that they are able to fully participate in Australian life. This includes access to free public education for children, English language support and work rights for dependents.
In past interviews, Bill Shorten has maintained a positive attitude towards immigration and its benefits to Australia. Only time will tell if these policies will be executed and to what extent.
If you would like to discuss any aspects of migration, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.