22 October 2008

Evans: Australian migration intake may be cut

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Australian migration may have to follow in the footsteps of the negative growth of the global economy, reports the Australian. In a Senate estimates hearing yesterday the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans said the migration quota will have to be reduced if the economy continues to slow.

This year, the Australian migration quota hit record levels, yet the Rudd Government is concerned it will have to make adjustments to reflect the global financial crisis and the slowing of the Australian economy. 

"I'd envisage certainly that the migration program for next year would be smaller than this year," Senator Evans told the hearing.  "(But) no decision has been taken on that."

Senator Evans indicated the decision regarding the migration quota would be made in the lead-up to the 2009-10 budget, so that it can better reflect the current economic climate.

"What I'm saying to you is that it seems to me, given what the general economic forecasts of the world economy are, that your first starting point is that you'd think it would be lower," Senator Evans said.

The migration quota was this year increased by 31,000 to reach a record 190,300 visas for Australia, and comprised 133,500 skilled visa migrants. 

The flagging of a cut in migration numbers next year comes at a time when Britain's new immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted the UK was in line for a tougher immigration policy. 

"If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny," Mr Woolas told The Times.

Senator Evans also suggested a slowdown of the economy will reduce the numbers of temporary workers in Australia, particularly those in the 457 temporary visa program, as the demand in the economy will reduce.  He added, economic pressures in the household will reduce travel opportunities, which will also affect the numbers of people applying for an Australian working holiday visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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