'Broken' immigration system to be reviewed

Australia's "broken" immigration system is being exploited by criminals and will undergo a review to address "grotesque" issues among new arrivals.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil flagged the independent review on Monday, saying the system was being exploited to facilitate "the most horrific crimes being committed in our country, things like slavery and human trafficking".

It follows recent reports of visa rorting and foreign worker exploitation in Australia, including revelations a human trafficking boss entered the country despite having been jailed in the UK.

Former top bureaucrat Martin Parkinson, labour migration legal expert Joanna Howe and former Skilled Migration Ministerial Advisory Council member John Azarias will carry out the review.

Terms of reference for the review say its goal is to "develop a holistic strategy that articulates the purpose, structure and objectives of Australia's migration system to ensure it meets the national interest in the coming decades".

An interim report will be given to the minister on February 28, containing priority recommendations for next year's budget.

Ms O'Neil attacked Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and his handling of the issue when the coalition was in government.

Mr Dutton was previously the home affairs minister.

"He went around the country talking about what a tough guy he was on the borders, but at the same time was presiding over a system which was being used to facilitate criminal conduct and I'm really worried about that," Ms O'Neil said.

"We need to get some answers about why that's occurred."

Ms O'Neil said the review will lead to huge benefits for the country, adding it was an outcome of the government's recent jobs and skills summit.

"We heard ... enormous consensus across unions, across business, across civil society, that this system can do so much for our country, but it's not working at the moment for migrants or for the people who need them here to help us," she said.

"So what we want to do is really go back to first principles and say ... 'How can we design a system that simple, that's inexpensive, that's fast, that's easy to use, and that helps us get the best out of these people?'."

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said it was a "sad indictment" the review was needed at all, given Labor had nine years in opposition to put together a policy.

Mr Tehan said the review needed to get the balance right between permanent and temporary migration, as well as ensure regional Australian benefited from any reform.