A new report has revealed that the number of people making the move to Australia has been slashed by more than 10 per cent, as permanent migration figures have reached their lowest point for more than a decade.
According to figures supplied to Starts at 60 by the Department of Home Affairs, it appears that the vetting measures enforced by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton resulted in a reduction of around 21,000 over the past year.
A total of 162,417 people entered the country under the migration program during the last 12 months, which is down from 183,608 in 2016/17 and 189,770 the year before. The cut is the biggest single-year reduction in more than a decade, after numbers soared to 190,000 under the Rudd and Gillard governments.
The report also shows that, under Dutton’s rule, the figures are the lowest they’ve been since 2007, with the drop being attributed to a clampdown on fraudulent visa claims and a 46.2 per cent rise in the number of rejected visas under the government’s new integrity measures.
Australia has cut permanent immigration to LOWEST level in 10 years.
Yes, 3 of the "peak" years were under Rudd/Gillard/Rudd, but 3 more were under Abbott/Turnbull.
— James Elton-Pym (@JamesEltonPym) July 12, 2018
Speaking to The Australian, Dutton said he wants the migration program to “work for Australians” as well as for migrants, and claimed that the report shows a strengthening of the country’s permanent visa program.
“The Coalition has restored our borders and reintroduced integrity into our migration program,” he said, “We ended the chaos Labor created on our borders by stopping the boats and we abolished Labor’s discredited 457 visa program. What these figures show is that we have also strengthened Australia’s permanent visa program by ending Labor’s slavish drive for quantity and replacing it with a sharper focus on integrity and quality.
“I want the migration program to work for Australians, not just the migrants themselves. On my watch, we will continue to seek out those migrants who will make the best contribution to our country, including in our regions.”
This year’s total is the lowest since 2007-08, when it was 158,630, with the biggest drop being seen in family visas which were reduced by almost 15 per cent. There was also a reduction in the number of skilled migrants who were granted visas, with the numbers being slashed by 12,468 to 111,099 in 2017/18.
However, the number of child placements, primarily requiring ministerial intervention, has been largely maintained.
The report comes just weeks after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson announced her intention to introduce a bill in parliament calling for a public vote on the level of migration. Confirming that she will raise the bill when parliament resumes next month, she said: “Australians have never had a say in the level of migration coming into Australia. It is time that changed.”
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese described the statistics as a “good result”. He told Today host Sylvia Jeffreys: “Of course it’s a good result if there is more integrity in the system. This is, bear in mind, a drop of 20,000 on the government’s own figures last year.
“They have been in government for five years. If they have toughened up the system which they, themselves, were in charge of, to ensure more integrity in the system then of course that’s a good thing,”