Monday 25 Jan 2021 | 02:48 | SYDNEY
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About the project

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: The impact of Mosul, social cohesion in Australia, irregular migration, and more

By Rachael Buckland, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Migration and Border Policy Project.

  • The NSW Government has announced job assistance training for refugees arriving to the state from Syria and Iraq.
  • Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Miranda Devine questioned the criticism directed at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton following his recent comments about Lebanese immigration.
  • Malcolm Turnbull took time out from the APEC leaders’ summit to discuss irregular migration with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
  • Pádraig Collins unpacks the uncertainty surrounding the US-Australian refugee swap under a Trump administration.
  • The 2016 Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion in Australia survey was released this week. While results indicated that concern about immigration is at a nine-year low, only a minority of survey respondents indicated support for asylum seekers reaching Australia by sea.
  • Watch COMPAS’ Professor Michael Keith speak at Oxford Martin School on the interplay between cities, urbanisation and migration.
  • The World Health Organisation published a report on the nexus between migration and health.
  • Oxford University Press published Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development, an exploration of refugees’ economic lives.
  • Read IOM’s statistical breakdown of the civilian impact of Mosul operations.
  • Migration Policy Institute released a report underlining the importance of taking a ‘whole-of-society’ approach for achieving effective resettlement and integration of asylum seekers and migrants in Europe.
  • IMI released a podcast examining the role of migration in the aftermath of a cyclone in regional Bangladesh.
  • Anti-Rohingya tension is on the rise in Myanmar with a new wave of destruction hitting Rohingya villages this week. ASPI’s John Coyne argues that Jakarta may be the last hope.

Photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

Australia and the anti-trafficking regime in Southeast Asia

This working paper reviews recent trends in human trafficking in Southeast Asia and the status of the anti-trafficking regime in ASEAN member states. It examines the role of Australian governments in helping establish and develop anti‑trafficking legislation and national referral mechanisms in ASEAN states and argues more can be done for victim protection. Photo: Getty Images/Jonas Gratzer

Migration and border policy links: Calais, resettlement, cross-border linkages and more

By Rachael Buckland, an intern with the Migration and Border Policy Project.

  • Earlier today the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) released a report examining the economic impacts of migration in Australia. Like the Productivity Commission Report No.77 released earlier this year, CEDA’s findings focus on the need to recalibrate the intake of permanent skilled migrants and recognise the relationship between migration and population policy.
  • Reports in The Australian indicate that the Australian government is finalising arrangements that will see refugees on Manus Island and Nauru offered permanent homes in a number of third countries, including the US and Canada. The Kaldor Centre’s Madeline Gleeson appeared on ABC's The World Today to discuss the Australian government’s proposed changes to visa legislation and the rumoured resettlement arrangements.
  • New research from academics in Britain has revealed the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees making their way to Europe.
  • The Migration Policy Institute's Transatlantic Council on Migration has released a report outlining three action priorities needed to transition from 'care and maintenance' policy for refugees to a model which promotes individual social and economic contribution/development.
  • Supported by the Turkish government, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has released a global review of migrant smuggling data and research.
  • What is it like to be rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by The Responder? Watch Reuters 360° footage here to find out.
  • Following weeks of tension between France and Britain over the resettlement of children residing in the Calais camp, France has finalised the relocation of youths to reception centres across the country.
  • On 2 November, IOM Iraq Emergency Tracking data revealed that 20,718 individuals have been displaced as a result of Mosul operations.
  • Writing for Brookings Institute, Omer Karasapan analyses the prevalence and experiences of disability among Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons, and the economic and social challenges that disability poses to refugee-receiving nations.
  • Check out the CSIS project Reconnecting Asia, which examines how cross-border infrastructure linkages are changing the region.

Photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

Migration and border policy links: Post-hurricane Haiti, Mosul fighting and more

By Rachael Buckland, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Migration and Border Policy Project

  • The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has published its 2015-2016 figures on migration, refugee and humanitarian entry, citizenship, and general operations.
  • Professor William Maley wrote about the need to re-frame contemporary refugee political discourse.
  • The Washington Post published a three-part infographic series on border protection in the 21st century.
  • In a recent report, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, found no evidence to suggest that migration leads to increased terrorist activity.
  • Migration Policy Institute’s Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce unpacked US immigration policy towards post-hurricane Haiti.
  • During a Médecins Sans Frontières rescue mission in the central Mediterranean, 25 people were found dead on an inflatable rubber boat.
  • A BBC Panorama investigation has revealed that Syrian refugees are working in Turkish factories manufacturing clothes for Western labels Marks and Spencer, Asos, Zara and Mango.
  • IOM Iraq launched an online portal to provide daily updates on civilian displacement after the 17 October launch of the military operation to retake Mosul.
  • Following the third meeting of a DPRK-China bilateral border commission, a China’s Foreign Ministry statement outlined the growing relationship between the two nations, including a commitment to increased cross-border cooperation


Photo: Flickr user The 621st Contingency Response Wing


Economic migration and Australia in the 21st century

This Analysis assesses the benefits and challenges of contemporary economic immigration in Australia. It argues that Australian governments have managed significant recent changes to immigration policy successfully. The authors recommend various reforms to maintain public confidence in expansive economic immigration arrangements that are important for sustaining national prosperity.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Reforming the international protection regime: Responsibilities, roles and policy options for Australia

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Nonresident Fellow in the Migration and Border Policy Project Dr Khalid Koser argues that the international protection regime is failing and Australia has a responsibility to help fix it. Koser defines how promoting reform, at the domestic, regional and global levels, serves Australia’s national interest.

Photo: Getty Images/Gokhan Sahin

Australia and the 1951 Refugee Convention

In this Analysis, Khalid Koser argues that the implementation of the 1951 Refugee Convention is failing the interests of both states and refugees. Koser argues that Australia is well-placed to lead an international effort for reform.

Photo: Getty Images/Scott Fisher