Indian agreements erode Australia’s sovereignty


Last month, it was revealed that Labor’s reforms to Australia’s immigration system would not apply to Indian nationals because of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the two nations by the former Coalition government.

“Nearly 50,000 Indian students now in Australia will escape a key measure in the federal government’s clampdown on international student visas because of a Morrison government agreement with India that guaranteed the conditions applying to post-study visas for Indian students”, The Australian reported in December.

“Indian education agents are already exploiting the loophole with promotion campaigns to make Indian students aware that they can partially avoid the Australian visa crackdown”.

“These two measures could not be applied to Indian students because of a commitment in the Australia-India free-trade agreement signed by then trade minister Dan Tehan in April 2022, just before the Coalition lost the May 2022 election”, the article stated.


This week, The AFR reported that plans to triple foreign investment fees for purchases of established homes and to double the vacancy fee for homes that overseas investors own could breach double-taxation agreements with eight countries, including India.

Worse, “large numbers of property buyers from India, in particular, may be eligible for tax refunds”, reports The AFR’s John Kehoe.

“India is one of the countries Australia has a tax agreement with, and there has been a surge in immigrants from India in recent years”.


“Tax lawyers said it could require the government to renegotiate tax treaties with the eight countries, which are highly unlikely to agree to such changes”.

The Albanese government last year signed two migration agreements with India that, among other things, provides:

  • Five-year student visas for Indians.
  • Indian graduates of Australian tertiary institutions on a student visa can apply to work without visa sponsorship for up to eight years.
  • Australia will recognise Indian vocational and university graduates to be “holding the comparable AQF qualification” for the purposes of admission to higher education and general employment.

These migration pacts further erode Australia’s ability to control its borders and will likely increase the flow of Indians seeking work and residency in Australia.

Through its various Indian FTA and migration deals, our treasonous federal government under both Labor and the Coalition has deliberately eroded Australia’s sovereignty. For what purpose?

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.