Australian immigration policy and COVID-19

This weekend I had two pieces published concerning short-term immigration policy in response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 and the horticultural sector: addressing the pending labour supply shortfall (co-authored with Stephen Howes and published at the Development Policy Centre blog) argues Australia should extend visa validity for Pacific citizens in Australia in the horticultural industry.

Of viruses and visas (co-authored with Peter Mares and published at Inside Story) argues visa and welfare concessions are urgently required as a response to the public health emergency and ensuing economic environment.

On this front, the Australian Government is acting. As part of today’s announcement, about 310,000 permanent residents who are normally excluded from welfare support in their initial years in Australia, are now eligible. This is a good, positive sign from the Morrison Government in this period of crisis.

There is more to do around certainty for people who hold a temporary visa that expires in the next 6-12 months, as well as how many of these people will support themselves.

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