Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Migration and border policy links: Israel’s UNHCR backflip, Pacific seasonal workers, more

Links and updates from across the migration and border policy field.

Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (Photo: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development/Flickr)
Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (Photo: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development/Flickr)

  • At The New York Times, a data-rich interactive examines the myth that greater immigration levels lead to higer rates of crime.
  • In December 2017, the Nauruan Government quietly ended an agreement that saw the High Court of Australia serve as the Pacific Island’s final court of appeal. The 90-day notice period ended in March 2018, meaning that asylum seekers held in detention on Nauru no longer have a legal avenue for appealing decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of Nauru.
  • A Kaldor Centre event from March, “What’s so special about Canada? How ordinary Canadians successfully sponsor refugees” is available as a podcast, embedded below. The program notes that Australia is currently establishing the Community Support Program, which will enable sponsorship of humanitarian visas, and discusses what Australia can learn from Canada in this process.

  • The World Bank has issued a new report arguing that Australia should allow more Pacific workers, and fewer backpackers, to work in horticultural industries in Australia. The paper finds that filling all the positions currently taken by backpackers with Pacific Islanders would translate to a net income gain of $282 million for the Pacific – roughly equivalent to 26% of Australia's aid budget in the region.
  • South Africa has “hailed” an Australian retraction of Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton’s comments on providing special humanitarian visas to “persecuted” white South African farmers, with Foreign Ministry officials claiming Julie Bishop effectively advised them to “ignore” the comments. Minister Dutton’s office, however, has rejected that the retraction took place.
  • The Humanitarian Law and Policy blog of the International Review of the Red Cross has published an examination of the principle of “non-refoulement” and its relevance to Global Compact negotiations.
  • As part of US President Donald Trump’s directive to increase vetting of visa applicants, the US State Department this week proposed that all visa applicants must submit their social media account details, going back five years, for scrutiny. The President has also been busy venting about immigration on Twitter, leaving White House officials scrambling to explain the context of his tweets. In a conference call to reporters, a new “immigration push” was announced that is essentially no different to policies the administration has been pursuing unsuccessfully for months.
  • Israel announced on Monday it would call off plans to indefinitely retain or forcibly remove migrants to third-party African nations, in a deal forged between Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and UNHCR. However, in an unexpected backflip, the deal was cancelled only hours later, allegedly following pressure from nationalist factions within Israel. UNHCR has urged the Israeli Government to “consider the matter further”.
  • UNHCR has comprehensively mapped and visualised the extent of the Rohingya refugee emergency.

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