Mi­gra­tion takes dip

Low­est rate in more than decade could cause bud­get re­think

The Observer - - NATION -

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.

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