SSI has called for nine key areas of reform in the upcoming 2023-23 Federal Budget in order to optimise migration, Australia’s humanitarian program and our settlement services for the benefit of all Australians.
The world is changing, and Australia's migration system and humanitarian program need to change with it.
Our proposals acknowledge that the global demand for skills has intensified.
- To strengthen Australia’s position as a destination of choice, SSI proposes the four-year waiting period for income support is waved or reduced to six months for all new permanent residents. The existing waiting period denies new residents support, even when they have already made a significant social and economic contribution to Australia. Waving the waiting period will help attract skilled individuals and promote a fairer country.
- Additionally, SSI proposes the visa processing fee for skilled migration pathways is reduced or abolished for humanitarian entrants, especially for those with in-demand skills. The prohibitively high costs associated with alternative migration pathways is one of several systematic barriers that prevent refugees from migrating for employment, educational or reunification purposes. Supporting skilled pathways for refugees through a fee visa waiver would also help address Australia’s critical skills shortages.
- Another avenue for addressing skills shortages and humanitarian need is to increase the quota or expand the pilot for skilled migration pathways for humanitarian entrants. The limited number of Refugee and Humanitarian Visas available means that skilled refugees often miss out on protection in Australia. SSI proposes that increasing the quota or expanding the pilot for skilled migration pathways for humanitarian entrants would create an alternative and complementary pathway to protection while enabling skilled refugees to contribute to Australia's economy.
- Importantly, SSI also proposes to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 places to 27,000 places. This is consistent with the government’s policy commitment, and SSI urges that it should be implemented as soon as possible. Increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 places to 27,000 places would reflect the changing global environment and Australia's commitment to humanitarian values.
- Finally, with Australia's migration and humanitarian programs expanding, the country is set to welcome approximately one million people over the next five years. Ensuring newcomers feel connected, engaged, supported, safe and settled is key to reaping the many benefits of migration, and settlement services are fundamental to achieving this. That is why we also recommend the government better resource settlement service organisations, especially at a time of rising service delivery costs.
SSI’s nine proposals for migration and humanitarian reform, including those listed above, aim to strengthen Australia’s position as a destination of choice, improve its reputation as a fair country, and enable skilled refugees to contribute to Australia's economy.
Read SSI’s full policy submission: https://lnkd.in/ghxM6XEG