Why is India setting Australian migration policy?


Federal Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor has attacked the Coalition’s planned migration cuts, claiming they will worsen skills shortages.

O’Connor claims that opposition leader Peter Dutton has not explained how the major cuts the Coalition plans to make to migration numbers will help provide Australia with the workers it needs to resolve the housing crisis.

“I need to point to the gaping holes in Peter Dutton’s proposition to help industry through the persistently tight labour market. In his budget reply, the central pillar was to cut migration – and to cut it significantly”, O’Connor said.

“He provided no detail about how he plans to do that, or which areas of migration he plans to ­target. International students? Nurses? Construction workers?”.


O’Connor’s claims are hilarious given the data shows that migrants are massively underrepresented in the construction industry:

Migrants in construction

As a result, Australia finds itself perpetually short of housing and infrastructure, resulting in unaffordable housing and crush-loaded living standards.

Under current policy settings, more migration means greater infrastructure and housing shortages, and visa versa.


O’Connor claims also come at the same time as Labor is mired in controversy over omitting construction trades from the draft skills priority list for migrants, while yoga instructors, martial artists and dog handlers were included on the list.

Cameron Kusher Tweet

Sadly, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with with India four years ago baked in the importation of yoga instructors and chefs:

Matt Barrie Tweet

The yoga instructor visa farce was basically a gift to India, alongside the recently signed migration pacts that gives greater rights to Indians wishing to work and migrate to Australia than other nations.

Check out the below mutual recognitions agreement signed by Australia and India. It was clearly drafted by the Indian side on an ancient typewriter, punch holes intact!


Through its various dumb migration deals, Australia has effectively Swiss cheesed its immigration policy, reduced its ability to control migration numbers and quality, and reduced Australia’s sovereignty in controlling its borders.

We are not a serious country.

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.