The Australian government is in the early stages of examining major changes to the country’s immigration system. According to statements by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, the government has engaged a team of experts to conduct a comprehensive review designed to ensure the country’s immigration system “serves Australia’s national interests and complements the skills and capabilities of Australian workers.” While details on the scope of the report are still forthcoming, it is expected to focus on strategies for ensuring skilled labor for businesses, enhancing worker productivity, and navigating issues associated with an aging workforce. The experts’ report is expected to be delivered to the government by the end of February 2023.  

Looking Ahead: “A Migration System for Australia’s Future”

Preparation of the report – to be titled “A Migration System for Australia’s Future” – follows assertions by the Home Minister that Australia’s immigration system is “broken,” including allegations that the visa system has been exploited by criminal elements. However, the report is intended to be a broader review of the immigration system, and is expected to encompass a review (or even elimination) of Australia’s skilled occupation list, which the Home Minister argued is not currently evidence-based.  

The expert panel guiding the review is intended to conduct extensive consultations with migrants, unions, businesses, states and territories, and other key stakeholders. The three members of the expert panel are:

  • Dr. Martin Parkinson AC PSM — Chancellor of Macquarie University and former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Secretary to the Treasury, inaugural Secretary of the Department of Climate Change, and an International Monetary Fund official.
  • Dr. Joanna Howe — Associate Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide and a consultant with Harmers Workplace Lawyers. Dr. Howe is a leading expert on the legal regulation of temporary labor migration and was appointed to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration in 2021.
  • Mr. John Azarias — Former senior partner at Deloitte in Sydney and former member of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Skilled Migration. Mr. Azarias has carried out reviews commissioned by the Commonwealth Government in the areas of defense, immigration, foreign affairs and trade, and agriculture, as well as a review of the Board of Treasurers for State and Territory Treasurers.

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