Connecting refugee and migrant labour to the skills shortages in regional Australia can be a positive response to the pandemic – and the benefits go beyond the economic upside.
In early January 2020, the coronavirus seemed a foreign and distant phenomenon, very far from Australian shores. By the end of March, it was hitting the Australian economy hard and fast, resulting in a record number of people losing jobs in a matter of weeks.
The Asia Pacific is experiencing another major test of regional cooperation, reminiscent of the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis. In the first four months of 2020 there were more boat movements in the Andaman Sea than in all of 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the vulnerability of forced migrants in refugee camps, on the move and at sea.