Social Security for Migrant Workers and Their Families in Australia

SOCIAL SECURITY AND MIGRANT WORKERS: SELECTED STUDIES OF CROSS-BORDER SOCIAL SECURITY MECHANISMS, R. Blanpain, P. Arellano Oritz, M. Olivier & G. Vonk, eds., Kluwer, pp. 187-214, 2014

41 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2013 Last revised: 29 Sep 2014

See all articles by Anna Katherine Boucher

Anna Katherine Boucher

The University of Sydney - Department of Government and International Relations - School of Social and Political Sciences - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Terry Carney AO

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: September 1, 2013

Abstract

Australia is often identified as an immigration success story. The economic performance of immigrants to Australia in recent decades has been lauded by government and from within academia. The depiction of Australian immigration as highly skilled and economically self-reliant underplays the role of welfare state retrenchment in redirecting the economic support provided to new immigrants by the state towards immigrant families. In this paper, we sketch the provision of social security payments to newly arrived immigrants across the economic and family reunification visa classes and since restrictions upon benefits first began in 1992/3. We also outline what trends towards temporary economic immigration represent for long-term welfare eligibility of new immigrants, and how changing source countries shift expectations around welfare portability and reciprocity for immigrants over the longer term. In doing so, we argue that these recent trends in immigration policy represent a movement away from residual state support for Australian citizens, permanent residents and newly arrived immigrants alike, towards a differentiated system, where familial support is expected for new immigrants but not for others in the Australian labour market. We also sketch the dissonance between this provision and international legal norms. This paper relies upon legal analysis and unpublished statistical data from the Continuous Survey of Immigrants to Australia.

Keywords: immigration, social security, Australia, sponsorship bonds, temporary immigration

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Boucher, Anna Katherine and Carney AO, Terry, Social Security for Migrant Workers and Their Families in Australia (September 1, 2013). SOCIAL SECURITY AND MIGRANT WORKERS: SELECTED STUDIES OF CROSS-BORDER SOCIAL SECURITY MECHANISMS, R. Blanpain, P. Arellano Oritz, M. Olivier & G. Vonk, eds., Kluwer, pp. 187-214, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2319173

Anna Katherine Boucher (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney - Department of Government and International Relations - School of Social and Political Sciences - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia
+61 2 9351 1992 (Phone)
+61 2 9351 3624 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/government_international_relations/staff/academic_staff/anna_boucher.shtml

Terry Carney AO

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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