Temporary migration: Beyond apple picking and tour guides

30 Sep 2011

On September the 8th, the Australian government announced changes to its Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS). In broadening and deepening Australia’s primary development-orientated migration scheme, this move demonstrated a commitment to improving the development impact of Australian migration policy. As such, it is in accordance with a large and growing body of literature advocating greater labour mobility as a key way for the developed world to help the developing. Yet the government’s current approach does not take full advantage of migration’s considerable effect on development.

Key Points:

  • Australian temporary migration policy is increasingly reflecting a commitment to overseas development
  • However, expanding low-skilled migration could have substantially greater impact yet
  • Due to the political complexity of migration reform, there is a need to chart alternative reform options
  • This brief reviews three such options: Expanding the current 457 visa, introducing a General Low-Skilled Program, or introducing Sector-Specific Programs
  • Tentatively, it seems Sector-Specific Programs may be the most promising avenue for development-promoting reform
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