visa restrictions

Number of visas issued to live and work in Australia down by 10%

by Ray Clancy on July 19, 2018

in Immigration Documentation, Jobs in Australia

The fact that it is now tougher to get a visa to work and live in Australia than it was a couple of years ago is the reason behind a 10% drop in immigration, according to the Government.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed that the number of people arriving in Australia has fallen by more than 20,000 to the nation’s lowest immigration level since 2007.

Australia Security

(By Kheng Guan Toh/

Figures show that despite an official cap of 190,000, the annual intake fell to 183,000 last year and to 162,000 this year with drops in particular in skilled visa numbers and family visas, down 12,000 and 8,000 respectively.

Dutton said that the fall is due to less desirable people being weeded out by tougher application rules. He explained that more attention is being paid to making sure people have the qualifications they say they have and the right documentation.

Business groups, however, believe that the fall in immigration will adversely affect the economy. The Australian Chamber of Commerce described it as a ‘crisis’, particularly for regional employers who cannot find suitably qualified people.

There are calls for more to be done to attract immigrants to regional areas, and not just to the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

The Migration Council of Australia also believes that a reduction in numbers could slow economic growth, and Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group said it was disappointing that immigration has dropped ‘significantly’.

‘Migration affects workforce capacity and business confidence, and the decision to reduce the flow has implications across portfolios, including for the budget bottom line. Dropping the migration numbers has the potential to slow economic growth and undermine business confidence,’ said Carla Wilshire, chief executive of the Migration Council.

Dutton said that there is not an official immigration ‘target’ and that 190,000 is an upper limit, adding that work is being done to attract more people to regional areas. ‘We’re conscious of the pressures on infrastructure, on housing, particularly within the capital markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and we want to have a migration programme that works most effectively for our country and what serves our interests, as well as the migrants’ interests and we should make no apology for that,’ he explained.

‘We’re not going to allow people in where there’s a fraudulent application, where there’s dodgy information being provided. If you are bringing people in that don’t have the proper qualifications, that don’t have the documentation that satisfies the examiners within my department, if they’re worried about fraudulent documentation, those outcomes are not going to be productive for the economy,’ Dutton said.

‘We want our migration programme to work in our country’s best interest. I want to make sure that we scrutinise each application so that we’re getting the best possible people who are going to work, not be on welfare, people who are going to integrate into our community,’ he pointed out.

‘We want to make sure, particularly say people coming through the spousal visa programme, that they are legitimate relationships. And in the end, if we get it right then we end up with a much better migration intake. Australia’s a migrant nation. We’re very proud of the fact that millions of people have come to our country and made our country great. There are many values that we want to protect and those migrants want to protect,’ he added.

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