Oz ban on gay marriage impacts skilled worker immigration

Published:  20 May at 6 PM
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The Australian ban on the recognition of gay marriage or legal partnerships may be affecting skilled worker immigration at a time when the country is begging for migrants with specific qualifications and experience.

Australia’s long-standing discrimination against homosexual couples is traditional but, with an increasing number of countries including its near neighbour New Zealand now recognising same-sex expat couples, the ban seems to be having a negative effect on much-needed skilled immigration. Same-sex couples are choosing countries without discrimination, and liberal-minded heterosexuals are becoming reluctant to live in a socially-backward environment.

Western Australia with its attraction for migrants from the USA, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, is especially vulnerable, particularly for same-sex couples who were legally married in their home countries. Given that they are willing to start a new life which involves enriching their chosen country, they may rightly expect their marriage vows and committment to be respected.

Major Australian corporations are already hinting that the rules need to be changed, with Heather Rideout, board member at the Reserve Bank and former CEO of the Australian Industry Group, leading the chorus. Marriage equality is well on its way to becoming an international benchmark and show of commitment to workplace entitlements as well as social inclusion, with Australia’s increasing isolation due to impact recruitment in the long-term.
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