Australia’s permanent migration programme will aim to attract 190,000 new immigrants to the country during the 2017-18 migration year.
The latest intake target, which remains the same as last year’s, was announced by Department of Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Peter Dutton, on budget day.
Many experts had believed that the country would look to reduce its immigration targets this year, particularly in the wake of the news that the 457-temporary visa category had been abolished. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had even opined that reducing migrant intake could solve the problem of housing crisis in Australia.
Immigration amounts to approximately 55 per cent of Australia’s population growth annually and “High rates of immigration put upward pressure on land and housing prices in Australia’s largest cities,” a 2016 Productivity Commission report into the migration intake said.
And the former PM was not the only voice calling for a reduction to this year’s migration programme. Dr Bob Birrell, who heads the Australian Population Research Institute, said that the current target should be cut by at least half given the current economic climate.
“If the government was serious about its professed concern for Australian job seekers, you’d expect this to be reflected in the permanent migration program,” he said, prior to the latest target being announced.
A recent report revealed that Australians were struggling to get jobs in many fields popular with new immigrants, including accountancy and engineering — with an average of 30 applicants for each position.
Last year, Australia’s immigration program processed 189,770 people, including 128,550 skilled applicants and their families and 57,400 family reunion places. The vast majority were spouses or partners of Australian citizens.
Article published 11th May 2017