Migration system reforms must put dignity of people on temporary visas at the centre

MEDIA RELEASE | 27 April 2023

The landmark review into Australia’s migration system has shown that millions of people in Australia are navigating a broken migration system. Democracy in Colour’s
Migration with Dignity campaign is calling on the Federal Government to implement reforms that restore dignity back to people living on temporary visas.

Jarrod Tan, spokesperson for the Migration with Dignity campaign says, “The findings of the review unsurprisingly reveal that the system is broken, and has been for years. 

“When we spoke to community members who were on temporary visas, we heard that they were often trapped in exploitative working conditions because they were fearful of speaking out and risking their visa conditions.

“The power imbalance in the current temporary migration sponsorship scheme makes workplace exploitation inevitable. Corporations and employers know that they can operate with impunity. We need to stop the privatisation of the visa system, and stop linking visas to employers.

“The process and pathway to permanency for people on temporary visas is also extremely costly and lengthy. People who want to apply for permanency have to take costly English language proficiency tests which expire after a few years. The unacceptable long wait times to process these applications means that they need to re-do these tests, and are waiting in legal limbo for years.

“People who have been living and working in Australia for several years should have pathways to permanent residency and be able to build a stable home and community because they are already a part of our local communities. 

“As we come out of the global pandemic, it has never been more urgent to make sure that everyone has access to healthcare. Australians pride ourselves on our universal healthcare system, but millions of people on long-term temporary visas are excluded from this support. Ensuring that we all have access to healthcare and other public services must be a priority for the Government when reforming the migration system.

“It’s heartening to see that the Government wants to fix the broken migration system. Australia’s economy relies on the work of migrants, international students, and others on temporary visas, and it’s high time that we afford safety, security and dignity to these members of our community,” said Jarrod Tan.

MEDIA CONTACT: Aliya Ahmad 0428 684 307 or Joannie Lee at

The Migration with Dignity campaign calls for clearer pathways to permanent migration, ending corporate ties to temporary migration sponsorship and allowing working migrants access to public services including Medicare. The full submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ review into the migration system is available on request.

Democracy in Colour is a national racial and economic justice organisation in Australia that advocates on behalf of people of colour and multicultural communities across the country. It has a base of over 16,000 people and active member groups in different states in Australia.