We’re organising for a radically more just migration system…
“Migrants are an invisible part of the community. We make a noticeable chunk of the essential economy like farming, aged care, hospitality, and cleaning. We are here, yet again and again, we go unnoticed. We don’t desire anything beyond reach, all we seek is equality, respect, and support when necessary.”
– Ushant, on the experience of being a migrant and international student in Australia
For the last decade, the Coalition Government has made Australia’s visa system more hostile and exploitative. Fewer people moving here have been able to gain permanent residency or citizenship, being put on temporary visas after temporary visas. This is deliberate – people on temporary visas have significantly fewer democratic, social and economic rights than citizens.
Our friends, colleagues, and neighbors holding temporary visas working essential jobs like childcare, food delivery, nursing, and construction during the COVID-19 pandemic have been unable to access basic healthcare, worker’s compensation, or a safety net. The lack of rights has left them vulnerable, where many have reported being locked into unfair employment, underpayment, and exploitative labour conditions.
Since coming to power, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has backed permanent migration pathways for temporary workers. This is a great first step towards a migration system that recognizes the humanity and dignity of all who seek to build a life here.
Permanency means that all members of our society, no matter where they come from, are able to build a life with the same certainty and hope as Australian citizens. But many communities of colour are calling for much more to be done.
That’s why Democracy in Colour launched the “Migration With Dignity” campaign, to radically change the migration system and gear it towards one that lets anyone, no matter where they come from, build a stable home in this country.
How will we campaign for a migration system with dignity?
1. Listening to those most affected
We have organised listening campaigns all around the country gathering hundreds of stories to understand how this country’s temporary visa system affects our communities. This essential first phase of the campaign allows us to test our thinking and co-create goals with those most affected by the migration system. Everyone has different experiences, and so we need to ensure the Migration With Dignity campaign advocates for us all.
2. Strategising with the community
Once we listen to community members and people affected by the visa system, we will co-create a list of asks for policy reform.
Our current assumption of policy outcomes includes:
- Overhaul the Permanent Residency points system to stop discriminating on the basis of race by default and create clearer pathways to permanent migration.
- End corporate ties to temporary migration sponsorship and stop the privatisation of the visa system.
- Allow working migrants access to basic welfare services such as medicare.
3. Building a cross-community coalition
We will engage a broad coalition of people of colour community partially through our listening sessions and partially through engagement of Democracy in Colour organisers to mobilise on this issue. We will seek to particularly engage people of colour with lived experience on this issue such as PoC residence and temporary visa holder.
Want to build a more dignified migration system?
If you identify as a person of colour or First Nations; sign up to join our team with the form below! We’re creating teams across the country to organise actions and speak to their local MPs on radically reforming our visa system to gear it towards stability, fairness and dignity.