Migrants will soon face lengthy wait times of up to four years before they are able to access a range of benefits such as Newstart and health concession cards, as part of a government crackdown on welfare payments.
The move was proposed by the Coalition and, having garnered support from the Labor party this week, looks set to pass through the Senate before parliament breaks for Christmas, reports SBS.
The original bill introduced by Scott Morrison’s government would have seen migrants wait four years to access a number of benefits however, after striking a deal with the opposition, the new measures will see all migrants who enter the country on permanent skilled or family visas after January 1 2019 waiting four years for Newstart payments and concession cards.
Carer payments, parental leave pay, along with dad and partner pay will also be affected, but following negotiations between the two major parties the wait period will be extended to just two years, while carer allowance and family tax benefit part A will see a one-year wait.
Massive backflip from @iFECCA which says it "now believes" there are enough crossbenchers to vote down migrant welfare crackdown and says Labor/Coalition bill will "inflict unnecessary hardship".
Here's Bowen telling me how important FECCA's "strong endorsement" was this morning pic.twitter.com/yD6BpMFVi1
— James Elton-Pym (@JamesEltonPym) November 29, 2018
The government bill has already passed the House of Representatives and it was confirmed this week that a deal had been struck between Labor and the Coalition in a bid to ensure the bill passes the Upper House with the support of both major parties.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told SBS that Labor would not have supported the bill in its original form, but said the party could “live with” the agreed changes, rather than allow the likes of One Nation to conduct its own negotiations.
MIGRANT WELFARE REFORM@PaulineHansonOz has congratulated Labor for showing some common sense by joining @OneNationAus in support of changes making newly arrived migrants wait longer before being eligible for various Centrelink payments. pic.twitter.com/Ld9IvBWsAA
— Pauline Hanson ???????? (@PaulineHansonOz) November 29, 2018
Labor was slammed by the Greens over the move, with Senator Nick McKim saying: “You don’t negotiate migration policy with racists! Shame on Labor for supporting these horrendous laws.”
While Senator Mehreen Faruqi said: “Labor and the Liberals’ attacks on migrants in the Senate today aren’t just theoretical. They are deeply personal for migrants like myself.”
However, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson publicly congratulated the party “for showing some common sense” and joining her in supporting the bill, which is forecast to save the budget $1.3 billion over four years.