Migration takes dip
Lowest rate in more than decade could cause budget rethink
MIGRATION to Australia has been slashed to its lowest level in more than a decade after the federal government put tough new hurdles in place and targeted dodgy claims. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government was meticulously going through applications to weed out unsuitable claims. “We’re making sure that people who do become part of our Australian family are coming here to work, not to lead a life on welfare,” Mr Dutton said yesterday. Tougher vetting has led to more permanent migration visas being issued, with dishonest and dodgy applications in the government’s crosshairs. Mr Dutton said he had restored integrity to the migration program. “We have a welcoming migration program, but we’re not going to allow people in where there’s a fraudulent application, where there’s dodgy information being provided,” he said. The 2017/18 intake plummeted more than 10 per cent to 162,417. There has been a 46 per cent increase in visa refusals. The drop in immigration will likely hit the federal budget, given economic growth is linked to migration levels. Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison released a report in April which showed a single year of migrants would contribute billions to the federal budget over their lifetime. News Corp reports the drop in immigration numbers will mean budget figures will have to be revised next year. Labor leader Bill Shorten said he was worried about temporary migrants with work rights being ripped off and depressing wages and conditions. “When we’ve got young unemployed people in Australia, why is this government increasing the number of temporary guest workers?” Mr Shorten said. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said he was disappointed migration levels had fallen so far below the 190,000 ceiling.