Thursday 30 Jun 2022 | 10:16 | SYDNEY
What's happening on


In 2016 and 2017 the Lowy Institute conducted a significant research project to produce independent research and analysis on the challenges and opportunities raised by the movement of people and goods across Australia’s borders. An important goal of the research was to put Australia’s experiences in a broader regional and global context.

The Migration and Border Policy Project included workshops and roundtables which bring together external experts and government officials in an effort to build genuinely strategic approaches to complex migration and border issues. It also included annual Border Policy Research Fellowships in which an officer of the then Department of Immigration and Border Protection undert­ook research on migration and border policy issues at the Lowy Institute.

The Project was supported by the Australian Government’s then Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Latest publications

Migration and border policy links: Stories from Manus, journeys to Europe and more

  • News Deeply has published a list of the top refugee issues to watch in 2018. The article names the refugee and migration compacts, the migration control policies of wealthy countries, the testing of alternative approaches, and questions over migrant returns as major discussion points for 2018.


  • António Guterres has written for The Guardian on the global benefits of migration, describing how the upcoming international compact on migration negotiations will aim to lay out a 'common vision of how to make migration work for all our nations'.


  • Also at The Guardian, a new interactive feature is sharing stories from Manus Island, from the perspectives of both refugees being held in detention and the local population. Titled 'Beyond the Wire', the interactive launched on Tuesday, with more stories released today and more to follow on Saturday.


  • The New York Times, as part of its regular 'Partisan Writing Roundup', has published a collection of coverage from across the political spectrum reacting to US President Donald Trump's alleged use of the word 'shithole' to describe countries from which he finds large-scale immigration undesirable.


  • Following Trump's alleged 'shithole' comments, Australia was drawn into the conversation by US Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, who compared the policies Trump is seeking to implement to similar policies in Australia and Canada. This was extensively covered in the Australian media, including this piece from The Age and this piece from The Australian.


Migration and border policy links: Manus, labour migration and more

  • As a PNG police operation at the Manus Island detention centre continues, the UNHCR Regional Representative in Canberra has urged the Australian government's to take ongoing responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers on the island.
  • Linda Bartolomei and Eileen Pittaway explain why the international protection system is failing refugee women and girls.
  • Last week, Italy held a funeral for 26 Nigerian women and girls who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Writing for the Kaldor Centre, Elizabeth Ferris discusses barriers to the formation of the Global Compact on Refugees.
  • The Center for Global Development's Kathleen Newland has published a policy paper outlining US initiatives that have drawn on the links between migration and development.
  • The World Bank has released a report detailing the interaction between internal mobility and state borders in India.
  • The Institute for Human Rights and Business has published a report on labour migrant recruitment fees and the implementation of the 'Employer Pays Principle' within six multinational companies.
  • A recent survey has revealed the systemic exploitation of backpackers, foreign students and temporary migrants by Australian employers.
  • Writing for Border Criminologies, Ana Aliverti discusses the merits the nationality provisions in the UK Policing and Crime Act 2017.

Migration and border policy links: Inside Manus, Gulf state workers, violence against women and more

  • The Guardian's Ben Doherty has published a special report from inside the former processing centre on Manus Island.
  • The Council on Foreign Relations has published an interview with Human Rights Watch's Skye Wheeler focusing on sexual violence perpetrated against Rohingya women.
  • The Kaldor Centre's annual conference is taking place next week in Sydney. See here for more information.
  • The latest issue of the International Journal of Refugee Law is out now.
  • The Overseas Development Institute's Sarah Opitz Stapleton, Rebecca Nadin, Charlene Watson and Jan Kellett have authored a report on the relationship between climate change, displacement and migration.
  • Qatar has committed to ending the 'kafala' sponsorship model for migrant workers.
  • Human Rights Watch has published a report detailing the abuse of Tanzanian domestic workers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
  • ASEAN Leaders have signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, an instrument that aims to establish closer cooperation among member states in order to facilitate the realisation of migrant worker rights in areas such as health, justice and social protection.

Migration and border policy links: Manus, stateless minorities, the next steps on Myanmar and more

  • PNG's Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority has said it may use force if refugees and asylum seekers in the Manus Island processing centre fail to comply with relocation orders within two days.

  • UNHCR has published a report examining experiences of discrimination, exclusion and persecution faced by stateless minorities around the world.

  • A group of US senators have introduced a bill to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar and travel restrictions on the country’s military officials. Joshua Kurlantzick from the Council for Foreign Relations outlines the nexts step in the Rohingya refugee crisis.

  • Rebecca Buxton, Jade Huynh and Theophilus Kwek offer a critique of Refugia, the transnational, deterritorialised model of refugee self-government proposed by Oxford University academics Professor Robin Cohen and Nicholas Van Hear.

  • In a new report, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights details the findings from monitoring missions along borders on Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and calls on European states to urgently address the human rights of migrants.

  • Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel have authored a paper on the effectiveness of deterring emigration from low-income countries with foreign aid.

  • The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific has published a report outlining the challenges and opportunities inherent to pursuing safe, orderly and regular migration in the region.

  • Lin Taylor documents the pregnancy discrimination faced by foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong.

  • The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has published a report analysing company action to address the exploitation and abuse of Syrian refugees employed in Turkish garment supply chains.

  • Marie Anne Van Dijk, Marijn De Haas and Ruben Zandvliet argue that banks are uniquely positioned to contribute to the abolition of human trafficking.

Migration and border policy links: Manus, climate change, US policy and more


  • Refugees in Indonesia have been told by UNHCR that there is little likelihood they will ever be resettled.


  • New Zealand's new government is reported to be considering creating a visa category to assist those displaced by climate change. Meanwhile, Oxfam has published a report detailing the link between climate change and displacement, noting a series of policy recommendations for governmental action.



  • Edward Alden from the Council on Foreign Relations discusses the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez, the 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was arrested by US Customs and Border Protection while seeking treatment at a hospital in Texas.


  • Writing for the Brookings Institution, Elaine Kamarck and Christine Stenglein analyse the role that immigration played in the election of Donald Trump and how his reform policies remain far removed from the realities of contemporary immigration.


  • Jørgen Carling presents a model of migration reflective of recent development in migration theory.


  • UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has published a report on the 'international regime of impunity' over migrant deaths. Drawing on Callamard's report, Ioannis Kalpouzos and Itamar Mann argue that crimes against migrants should be dealt with by the International Criminal Court.


  • Writing for the World Economic Forum, Anne Gallagher and Jørgen Carling discuss reasons why migrant smuggling will continue to prosper despite increased state attention and spending on border security.