Media Release: Statement in response to media reporting of housing crisis and immigration

Apr 13, 2023 | Media Release

The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) is concerned about suggestions made in the media in recent weeks that our country’s rent crisis is due to immigration.

Immigration is not the primary cause of housing shortages and rent increases. However, recent commentary in the media perpetuates this myth, even when the vast majority of evidence-based research suggests otherwise.

Blaming immigration for high rent prices diverts attention from the very real systemic issues driving our housing crisis, such as supply and demand dynamics, economic conditions, government policies, and local housing market conditions, to name a few.

Further, labelling immigration as the sole cause of the housing or rental crisis in Australia is not only factually inaccurate but it is also incredibly damaging as it leads to the stigmatisation of migrants in our community.

Migrants play a vital role in Australia’s social and economic fabric, and we are all better off for immigration.

Housing is a basic universal right. We owe it to all people in Australia, including migrants, to resolve our housing crisis. Everyone, whether they are born in Australia or overseas deserves stable and appropriate housing.

It is important to approach discussions about rent prices and immigration with nuance, as the oversimplification of such complex issues can be dangerous and have a negative lasting effect on our community.

SCOA stands with various organisations who have been calling upon the Federal Government to take comprehensive and urgent action to address housing affordability. We particularly support the following:

  • To plan for, fund and implement a national housing strategy that addresses all aspects of the housing system including homeownership, private rental and social housing.
  • A national housing strategy will provide an integrated and coherent plan with consistent policy governing a national approach to addressing the housing crisis in Australia.
  • Upscale the supply of social housing in order to reduce the risk of homelessness for people living on low incomes, and members of the CALD community.

Useful resources and references

The Conversation: What made rents soar? It might have been COVID and pairing off

PEXA: Uncovering the real causes of Australia’s housing crisis

Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) Submission: A migration system for Australia’s future

Grattan Institute: If we want more migrants, we’ll need more homes

CEDA: Immigration does not harm wages outcomes for Australians

Journal of Integration Migration and Integration: Findings from the multi-site migrants’ settlement study


Notes to media: To speak to a spokesperson from SCOA or to arrange an interview with a person with lived experience, please contact Mahsa Fratantoni on 0422 180 674. Learn more about SCOA and its work by visiting Or get in touch directly by emailing us at

About The Settlement Council of Australia

The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) is the peak body representing services across Australia supporting new migrants and refugees. We are committed to building an Australia where every migrant and refugee feels at home, together with our membership which is over 115 members strong and counting. We are a trusted source of policy advice, and a thought leader on enhancing the economic and social inclusion of migrants and refugees.The services of our members range from greeting new arrivals at the airport, through to assisting them to secure housing, learn English, make social connections, access services and find their first job. Australia’s settlement services are recognised as being among the best in the world.