Opposition Leader Tony Abbott last week declared “a national emergency on our borders”. The Prime Minister uses similar rhetoric and has announced a new “hard-line” policy. They are, of course, talking about asylum seekers arriving by boat.
But asylum seekers make up just 7% of the nearly 200,000 people who come to Australia each year under its combined migration and humanitarian program. What about the other 93% who decide to call Australia home — at least for a little while? It might be less dangerous than getting on a boat, but don’t assume it’s an easy process to secure working rights in Australia, even for educated, middle-class, English-speaking migrants.