Australia’s annual immigrant intake has hit a ten-year low, new figures show.
The latest Department of Immigration figures show that just under 163,000 people arrived to live in Australia last year – 10 per cent fewer than the number that had arrive the year previously.
Since Peter Dutton became Australia’s Immigration Minister the annual immigrant intake has dropped by 21,000 people.
As well as stricter visa rules, new integrity measures introduced by Minister Dutton have also led to a 46 per cent rise in visa refusals and a 17 per cent increase in application withdrawals.
“The government has had real focus on making sure not only we restored integrity to our border but (also) to our permanent migration program,” Minister Dutton told 9NEWS. “Looking more closely at the applications that are made. Making sure that we’re bringing the best migrants possible into our country. We are doing what’s best for Australia.”
However, business groups in Australia have slammed the cuts, labelling them extremely “disappointing.”
“We are strong supporters of the migration program and to see it drop so significantly below the 2017-18 intake ceiling is disappointing,” The Australia Industry Group chief Innes Willox told SBS News. “Skilled migrants generate the greatest economic benefits to the Australian community, through their direct contributions to our national employment and skills base.
“Many also bring specialist attributes that provide even bigger benefits, by deepening our entrepreneurship, innovation and international linkages.” He added.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, meanwhile, said that the cuts are going to be felt more in regional areas of the country. “This is a problem right now, particularly for regional businesses serving regional communities,” the organisation said in a statement. “Politicians have failed to plan properly for the population growth in Sydney and Melbourne and regional Australia is now paying the price because of this cutback in our skilled migration by stealth.”
Article published 13th July 2018