In one of the craziest policies ever written, a Shorten Labor Government will dramatically age Australia’s population by uncapping visas allowing migrants to bring their elderly parents into Australia for continuous periods of three or five years. From The Australian:
Labor has revealed its proposed three- and five-year sponsored parents’ visas would cost $1250 and $2500 per entrant — a quarter of the cost of the Coalition’s parents’ visas — and would be available to an unlimited number of applicants.
Labor would also allow a single household to sponsor up to four parents at a time — compared with two under the Coalition — and enable visa-holders to renew their visa in Australia for a second three- or five-year term…
Demographers warned that the backlog of 97,000 applicants for permanent parents’ visas could be expected to apply under Labor’s policy, unleashing a 1980s-level surge in migration that would place additional strain on cities and services…
Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, about half of whose constituents in his Sydney seat of McMahon speak a language other than English, said the new visa was a fair, compassionate way to help migrants reunite with elderly parents…
Mr Bowen said Labor’s pledge was in stark contrast to the Coalition’s “heartless, callous and cruel” policy that would force families to choose which parents they sponsored…
Under Labor’s and the Coalition’s policies, applicants would have to obtain health insurance and any debts they incurred during their stay would have to be guaranteed by sponsors.
Demographer Bob Birrell said the uncapped nature of Labor’s policy could drive up demand for hospital beds and doctors. “It is highly likely that demand for particularly health services will grow because of the high incidence of health problems for older people,” he said.
“The question then becomes — if these parents do pay for these services, are they going to out-compete locals seeking the same service?”
While these proposed visas are long stay temporary, the Productivity Commission (PC) estimates that the circa 9,000 permanent parental visas granted each year already cost Australian taxpayers between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms, with the cost rising over time as numbers increase:
Overall, the cumulated lifetime fiscal costs (in net present value terms) of a parent visa holder in 2015-16 is estimated to be between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community. On this basis, the net liability to the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8700 parents over their lifetime ranges between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms. Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group.
Ultimately, every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas. It seems unlikely that parent visas meet the usual standards of proven need, in contrast to areas such as mental health, homelessness or, in the context of immigration, the support of immigrants through the humanitarian stream, and foreign aid.
Given the balance of the costs and benefits, the case for retaining parent visas in their current form is weak”.
Clearly, the open borders nutters at the Labor Party have gone against the explicit recommendation of the PC by announcing the rapid expansion of the parental visa system.
The budgetary cost of having up to 100,000 elderly migrants pile into Australia under Labor’s policy is likely to be enormous – potentially tens of billions of dollars – and will place immense strains on infrastructure, health and social services, which are already under pressure.
Moreover, with the proposed fees set so low – at around $500 a year – existing residents will be required to foot the cost for the additional investment in hospitals and infrastructure required to meet the additional demand.
Existing residents will also likely see the cost of their private health insurance increase as the elderly migrants become heavy users of the health system, thereby requiring cross-subsidisation.
There is no magic pudding when it comes to the budget, and the massive fiscal cost of Labor’s policy will divert funding from other worthwhile areas, such as raising Newstart, investing in infrastructure, or increasing disability funding.
Labor clearly cares more for the welfare of elderly citizens of other nations than Australian voters. Otherwise, why would they support such egregious fiscal vandalism?