Can the Government Fix Our Broken Immigration System and End Sex Trafficking for Good?

Content warning: This article contains references to sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers. 

The Aussie immigration system’s most likely in for an overhaul. Clare O’Neil, our Home Affairs Minister, has even signalled as much.  

On November 7, O’Neil announced who will be leading a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system.

“This review and a new national strategy, A Migration System for Australia’s Future, will ensure the migration system serves Australia’s national interests and complements the skills and capabilities of Australian workers,” said O’Neil. 

“The Strategy will outline the objectives of our migration system and guide future reform. It will focus on enhancing Australia’s productivity and providing businesses with the skilled workers they need, while assisting migrants to build new and prosperous lives in Australia.”

The three people leading this review are:

  • Creator of the Lysicrates Foundation, John Azarias
  • Associate Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide, Dr. Joanna Howe
  • Chancellor of Macquarie University, Dr. Martin Parkinson

All of these individuals have successfully worked with the Federal Government on a variety of projects over the years. 

Related: What It’s Like to Be an Asylum Seeker or Refugee in Australia

Related: Australian Retailers Association Reckons 13 Year Olds Should Be Put to Work Like It’s 1822

Why Is Australia’s Immigration System Being Reviewed?

While this review was originally announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September, some very serious allegations have been made against some Australian immigration agents in the interim. It’s possible that these accusations encouraged the Federal Government to expedite its review. 

Recent reports have alleged some immigration agents illegally sex-trafficked workers into Australia. These agents exploited both weaknesses in our immigration system and vulnerable humans to make this happen. 

“We’ve seen the system’s been subject to exploitation to facilitate the most horrific of crimes being committed in our country. Things like sex slavery and human trafficking,” said O’Neil

“We’ve got obviously the exploitation of human beings occurring in our country, we are going to get on top of that, and that work is already underway with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force. But I do think there is a need to have a broader look at the way in which this system has been exploited by criminals and so we will also undertake that work.”

Moreover, this isn’t the only problem O’Neil believes is facing Australia’s immigration system. 

“We’ve got some of the best and brightest people around the world who want to come here and make Australia their home. And we’re making them wait for sometimes years at a time to get in the door when countries that we’re competing with, like Canada, are essentially rolling out the red carpet.”

“When we arrived in government, there were a million unprocessed visas sitting in that system. It was taking enormous amounts of time just to work.”

It’ll remain to be determined if the Federal Government can fix the plethora of problems embedded into our current immigration system. We’ll keep you in the loop if or when they make some notable progress. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or head to The Australian Human Rights Commission for a list of state by state resources.

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