Immigration policy of Australia.
A distinctive feature of modern Australian immigration is the growing diversity of countries of origin of immigrants. Whereas in the late 1940s, immigrants from the United Kingdom dominated outside of Australia – about 67%, today their share has decreased two and a half times and is about 26%, while representatives of other European countries make up 28%, while people from Asian countries – 24%.
Structural changes in the composition of the immigration population were the result of changes in the policy of the Australian Government, in particular the rejection of the concept of “white Australian immigration”, which limits the influx of people from non-European countries. The first step in this direction was made in 1958 with the adoption of the Law on Migration, which abolished the mandatory conduct of a written test for the possession of a migrant by any of the European languages. There were no questions about the race in the text of the Law, and, according to the immigration minister of those years, “outstanding and highly qualified representatives of Asian countries” could be accepted by Australia as immigrants. The period of steady growth in the number of Asians in Australia began in 1966, when the government reduced the waiting period for the acquisition of the citizenship of the country for this category of immigrants from 15 to 5 years, equalizing their rights with Europeans. At the same time, the criterion for selecting “outstanding and highly qualified” Asian migrants was replaced by the criterion “qualified”, which determined the growth of their number from 0.75 thousand people in 1966 to 2.7 thousand in 1971
The immigration policy of the Australian authorities is fully described by the fact that Australia is one of four countries (apart from Canada, the United States and New Zealand) that officially announced the admission of immigrants and designated annual quotas. Modern immigration policy of Australia aims to achieve the following objectives: attracting migrants whose qualifications and professional experience correspond to the needs of the country’s economy; counteracting illegal immigration; development of the principles of a multicultural society.
The migration policy management system in Australia has a centralized structure. The implementation of the migration policy of the country as a whole is the responsibility of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs – DIMIA). The tasks of the Department include: consideration of applications for entry, stay and work in the country; immigration control; the fight against illegal immigration; integration of immigrants; granting citizenship; the development of inter-ethnic relations and the principles of a multicultural society.
The legal framework for migration policy in Australia is: The Aliens Act 1984, with subsequent amendments, the Australian Citizenship Act of 1948, with subsequent amendments, the Migration Act of 1958, with subsequent amendments, the 1997 Law on Visa Regulation, with subsequent amendments.
The main principle in the work on improving migration legislation is the desire, on the one hand, to attract immigrant professionals, businessmen and investors to Australia, and, on the other, to protect the country from entering undesirable categories of migrants.
If we analyze the real practice of regulating immigration in Australia during the last decade, the tendency of complicating its procedure is quite obvious. Thus, in the early 1990s, the state took on a number of obligations with respect to the immigrant: compensation for travel expenses, housing assistance, free English courses, etc. One year of permanent residence in the country gave the right to apply for the acquisition of Australian citizenship. To date, the situation looks different. Nevertheless, Australia continues to actively accept immigrants and accordingly has very democratic immigration rules compared to most developed countries.
For the selection of immigrants entering the country for permanent residence on the channel of immigration of qualified specialists, Australia uses a scoring system introduced in 1989. The number of points awarded to applicants for an immigrant visa varies depending on the category of immigration:
It should be noted that some professions have the least favored treatment for immigration to Australia. This is explained by the lobbying in the parliament of the interests of people in certain professions with high social status and large financial resources, which allows them to pursue laws that limit the immigration of foreign specialists. First of all, this applies to medical workers with higher education, especially to doctors who have their own practice or who work in clinics. When calculating points, this category automatically gets minus 25 points, which greatly reduces their chances of immigration.
The decision to issue a visa is reduced to the process of ticketing. This means that the requirements for an immigrant are clearly formulated taking into account all social groups and possible private circumstances. The purpose of this approach is to minimize the subjective moment. The official making the decision, is obliged to put a tick for conformity of the candidate to all criteria established in the law concerning this or that category of the visa.
The next stage is a set of necessary points for a positive decision on issuing a visa. This applies to almost all types of family immigration and, without exception, to independent immigration. Differences are only in the system of scoring points. The number of required points, as a rule, is set for a calendar year.
Such an approach, however, does not exclude violations and mistakes by the staff of the Ministry of Immigration. This is confirmed by a large percentage of cases (up to 45%), which are reviewed by the tribunals and courts in favor of those applying for a visa.
The Australian immigration law is a complex system of interaction of laws, their interpretations and service instructions, which are formally subordinate, but in practice they sometimes significantly change laws. In addition, immigration law is one of the most dynamic sections of Australian law. This is due to the fact that the orders of the Minister for Immigration are accepted for execution immediately after signing and are valid until they are considered in Parliament. In the event of cancellation of these orders, which occurs quite often, many conflicts arise in the implementation of immigration laws. This greatly complicates the interpretation of documents and service instructions.
Given the rapidly changing legislation, officially registered immigration agents are forced to confirm their qualifications every year. The license for the right to engage in this activity is issued only for one year.
There are two government programs designed to help those who wish to move to Australia permanently. The first – actually a migration one, includes three main streams: economic immigration; family immigration; wanting to return former citizens or residents of Australia, as well as citizens of New Zealand. These flows are subdivided, in turn, into a number of categories of immigration.
The second program – humanitarian, is being developed specifically for refugees and other humanitarian purposes.
In public discussions on immigration, there are three main topics: the unwillingness of large-scale immigration, the impact of cultural diversity on Australian society and human rights. On the one hand, the need for the influx of migrants, in particular skilled specialists, is realized. On the other hand, concern is expressed about the preservation of the Anglo-Celtic cultural heritage of the first colonists of Australia.
Many provisions of Australia’s immigration policy can be applied with appropriate adaptation to Russia. In particular, the problem of attracting highly skilled specialists and settling the vacant territories is acute in front of our country. In this respect, we can benefit from the Australian experience of granting the most favored nation treatment upon entry and granting citizenship to migrants necessary for Russia.
Nekrasov NA Immigration Policy in Australia: Features and Possibilities of Application in Russia // Migration Law. 2007. � 2.
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Immigration policy of Australia.