Migration is a source of
in a globalised world

View the Compact
The Compact

We affirm that Australia’s permanent migration program is essential to Australian society and our economy and do not support any reduction to the scheme.

Our permanent migration program has been central to Australia’s economic and social development and will be critical to Australia’s future as a productive and globally integrated economy and society.

Australia is a country based on multicultural values where migrants enjoy the equality of opportunity to participate and benefit from Australia’s social, economic and political life. As our economic opportunities in the Asia Pacific continue to advance and our population ages, Australia will need migrants to bring skills and youth to complement and develop our domestic workforce and to help to grow the national income needed to support our high standard of living.

We support the current planning levels for the permanent migration program and encourage future programs to maintain a level proportional to the population.

Migrants bring relationships, knowledge, skills and social capital that ensure Australia’s economy is well placed to trade and invest with the countries of our region and beyond. Many Australians in turn live and work in other countries during their lives. In this century, our people to people ties will drive our competitive edge and spread the benefits of our multicultural values.

The successful settlement of millions of people ranks among Australia’s greatest achievements as a nation. As a result, approximately one in four of Australia’s population today was born overseas and half of all Australians have at least one parent born overseas.

Migration is a two-way street that has helped Australia forge ties to every continent, country and culture. It has made our society more cosmopolitan and our thinking more open and dynamic.

Migration nourishes our cultural and linguistic diversity and is one of our greatest strengths in the contemporary globalised world. Our humanitarian program is an important reflection of our values and adds strength to the character of our nation.

We must plan for our success as a nation by supporting settlement services and programs that foster a sense of belonging, encourage social cohesion and enable economic participation.

We must ensure that all those who come are provided with the same rights and opportunities so that our values of equality and a fair go are maintained.

We agree that the following principles should form the foundation of Australia’s migration policy:

  1. We affirm that Australia’s permanent migration program is essential to Australian society and economy and do not support any reduction to the scheme.
  2. The permanent migration program should be set within a national strategy for well managed population growth that provides the community with the education and training, infrastructure, housing and other services needed to support growth and social cohesion.
  3. Australia’s permanent migration program must be evidence-based and calibrated to meet Australia’s national interests taking account of the role migration plays across all our economic levers. Migration, along with education, training, retraining and a strong system of social supports is part of our long-term economic strategy.
  4. Australia’s migration program must be selective but non-discriminatory in terms of ethnicity, national origin, class, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  5. All migrants have a right to live and pursue economic opportunities in an Australia free of racism, discrimination and exploitation.
  6. Migrants must be given every opportunity to contribute and fully participate in all aspects of Australian life, supported by access to services that assist their capacity to build the skills and knowledge needed to chart their own future.
  7. English language is recognised as critical to participation, both in the workplace and in the broader Australian community, and migrants should have access to free services to develop their English language skills where needed.
  8. The temporary skilled migration program should be limited to instances of genuine skill shortages which are based on evidence–based assessments of the need for specific occupations in the labour market. Where temporary visa workers are necessary we must ensure a robust regime to monitor and enforce compliance with protections incorporated in the program for preventing exploitation of overseas workers and guarding against the undercutting of local wages and conditions as well as holding those who abuse the labour rights of workers accountable.
  9. Encouraging and facilitating permanent settlement has been a key part of Australia’s migration framework and migrants should have a pathway available to seek permanent residency and citizenship.
  10. The confidence of the Australian community in an effective migration program, with appropriate safeguards, is paramount to its success and is contingent on strong and bi-partisan political leadership.

We agree that the following principles should form the foundation of Australia’s migration policy:

  1. Continuing to promote the importance of permanent migration to Australia’s sustainable economic and social development to the wider community.
  2. Supporting efforts to make the migration experience positive for migrants and for the Australian community, free of discrimination and exploitation.
  3. Promoting migration as a stand-alone portfolio function.
Media contact
Migration Council Australia