Australia’s permanent migration programme for 2017-18 will remain at a ceiling of 190,000 places.
This was announced by Department of Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton on budget day.
After recent announcements of abolishing the 457 visas and strengthening the requirement to gain Australia’s citizenship, all eyes were on government to see if the skilled migrant intake would be reduced or would it be maintained.
Debate on migration intake was reignited in late 2016 when Labor and Coalition debated the ‘Australians First’ policy and brought back focus on 457 visa.
Migrant intake was also one of the core election issues in the West Australian state elections.
Even former Prime Minister Tony Abbott 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.
On April 18th, government abolished the popular 457 visa which allowed businesses in Australia to bring in foreign workers and replaced it with two skill shortage visas, a two-year short term visa with no pathway to permanent residency and a four-year medium term visa with a pathway to permanent residency.
Applicants wishing to come to Australia on work visa from March 2018 will have to nominate an occupation on the occupations list. Along with abolishing the 457 visa, government also removed 200 occupations from the occupations list.
However, despite a huge rejig with work visa programs, the government has decided not to cut the migrant intake for 2017-18.