EVENT: Australia’s Immigration Policy – Are we getting it right?

6pm Tues 23 July and jointly hosted by: AIIA NSW/NSW Young Lawyers. Come and join the discussion in this joint event with the NSW Young Lawyers:

Australia’s immigration policy has been the subject of intense debate over the past few months. Whether it is about “the boat people” or putting “Aussie jobs first”, serious questions about the future of our immigration policy have dawned on the Australian public – the most important being, are we getting it right?

Just a few days ago, a Bill to crackdown on the abuse of the 457 visa migration scheme was hurriedly pushed through parliament. Forming a key element of her election-year agenda, former prime minister Julia Gillard initiated “the crackdown” earlier this year. Since then, opinions have been strong on both sides of the fence.

“Julia Gillard’s decision to exploit foreign worker xenophobia in western Sydney contradicts her immigration policy, weakens her political authority, and reveals yet again the flawed judgment that that bedevils Gillard’s election agenda.” 

That is how veteran columnist Paul Kelly, editor-at-large of The Australian began a detailed analysis of the former prime minister’s controversial move.

However, in drumming up such notions of foreign worker demonisation and insinuations of racial undertones in an atmosphere of pre-election hysteria, has Politics and the Media gone too far in polarising an issue that requires genuine consideration in these economically precarious times?

Tim Colebatch, economics editor of The Age defends the Government’s proposed reforms as follows: 

“The fact that the 457 visa program generally works well does not mean that there is no rorting taking place. The fact that rorting is taking place does not mean that the program does not generally work well….These are modest, sensible reforms to protect the integrity of the program. The government is trying to fix the rort – as it must.”

But are the Government’s proposed solutions the right ones for Australia?

Is the deregulated nature of the 457 visa system a matter for immediate action? Or is this another hyper-reactive response by policy-makers to trends in human mobility?

Given the acute skills shortage, what are the risks of the government’s change of tack on economic growth, key sectors like the health, education and resources industries, and our relations with Asian countries?

What other social and economic risks, as a result of migration policy, would impact the current demand for skilled migration?

What legal reforms can be offered to address the issues associated with the demand for skilled legal migration?

In conjunction with the NSW Young Lawyers – International Law Committee, the Australian Institute of Affairs presents “Australia’s Immigration Policy – are we getting it right?” – a one and a half hour round-table event with a focus on Australia’s Immigration Policy and the future of skilled migration in Australia. The discussion will revolve around the legalities, restrictions and issues of global human mobility including, the restrictions of migration movements and their impact on human resources, the limitations on skilled migration movements, the social and economic impacts of mobility on nation-states and possible solutions for the skilled migration issues currently facing the Australian limelight.

The round-table discussion will be led by several distinguished speakers who have had extensive practical experience of immigration issues in Australia – Ron Kessels, a leading migration lawyer, Professor Stephen Castles, Research Chair in Sociology at the University of Sydney, Jock Collins, professor of Social Economics in the Management Discipline Group at the Faculty of Business at the University of Technology and Joanne Kinslor, an accredited specialist in immigration law and academic at the University of New South WalesWe are also delighted to have Mr Pouyan Afshar, a practising barrister and founder of the NSW Young Lawyers International Law Committee, joining the round-table as chair and facilitator for the discussion.

Mr Ron Kessels, with almost 20 years experience in practicing migration law, is special counsel at Fragomen in Sydney, and also serves as executive director of Fragomen’s Centre for International Employment and Migration. He has been granted a place on the Best Lawyers list for Australia for four consecutive years from 2008 to 2011. Mr Kessel’s experience extends to corporate advice on migration and global mobility requirements and sourcing solutions, assisting with client compliance conducted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and he contributes to government and parliamentary committees on areas of proposed amendments to migration legislation.

Professor Stephen Castles has been highly influential in interdisciplinary migration research through his work on international migration dynamics, transnationalism, migration and development and regional migration trends in several continents, He currently oversees the ARC-funded 5-year research project on Social Transformation and International Migration in the 21st Century, an endeavour that is based on the assumption that human mobility is a normal part of social transformation. The project questions the tendencies of policy-makers who view human migration as abnormal, inherently problematic and in need of strategies for reduction. A tendency which is shaping migration law as we speak. He was the Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies and Director of the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford until August 2009 and now remains as associate director of the IMI. From 2001-2006, he also served as the director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University.

Professor Jock Collins is also the co-director of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at UTS and is known for his interdisciplinary work on migration research in Australia in the contexts of economy and society. With over 35 years’ experience in academia and research, he is widely published, having authored and co-authored numerous books and over 100 articles in international and national academic journals. Professor Collins has also held visiting academic appointments in Britain, Canada, Sweden and the United States as well as consulted to government and international bodies such as the International Labour Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development.

Ms Joanne Kinslor is also the course convenor of “Australian Immigration Law and Practice” at the University of New South Wales and has also lectured for the Australian National University Graduate Certificate of Migration Law and Practice course . Ms Kinslor was past president of the Management Committee of the Refugee Advice and Case Service (RACS) and has published articles addressing immigration, and human rights law issues in Australia in leading Australian journals. She is an active member of the Law Council of Australia’s Immigration Working Group and participates in national debate on immigration law and policy and contributes to Parliamentary submissions. Joanne was recognised in the Australian Financial Review as one Australia’s finest immigration lawyers for the past 6 consecutive years. She is is the principal solicitor at Kinslor Prince Lawyers.

Mr Pouyan Afsharis a past president of NSW young lawyers and founder of the NSW Young Lawyers International Law Committee. He currently practices as a barrister. His areas of practice include migration law and international law amongst others and in the past, he has been heavily involved with migrants as solicitor and interpreter for refugees.He was also a senior-associate at Baker & McKenzie and a lawyer at Allens Arthur Robinson prior to that. Mr Afshar is no stranger to the AIIA and you may recall him from a past AIIA-ILC joint event on the ever-timely topic of “Australia’s Muddle Over Illegal Migration”.

NOTE**: This is a 1.5 hour event.

Entry: AIIA + ILC members $15.00; Senior/student members: $10.00

           Visitors $25; Student Visitors $15

To book now: http://www.aiia.asn.au/nsw-events/event/746-australias-immigration-policy-

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