Morrison Government hides immigration boom in bridging visas

By Leith van Onselen

Ever since the Morrison Government announced that it would cut Australia’s permanent migrant intake to 160,000, in order to “relieve congestion in the cities”, MB has declared it a fake cut. This view is based on the fact that while the permanent migrant intake has been moderately reduced, the Coalition has opened the floodgates to a variety of temporary work visas, increased temporary old-age parental visas by 15,000 a year, and has allowed the number of migrants on bridging visas to swell.

Indeed, the April Federal Budget exposed these fake cuts, with net overseas migration (NOM) projected to be higher over the forward estimates than the latest 240,000 figure reported by the ABS:

One of the reasons why NOM continues to rise in the face of the lower permanent migrant intake is because temporary bridging visas – awarded to migrants awaiting substantive applications for permanent residency – have ballooned.

The March quarter temporary migrant data has been released by the Department of Home Affairs, which shows that the number of bridging visas on issue has surged from 107,000 in March 2014 to 230,000 as at March 2019 – an increase of 123,000:

Moreover, there has been a huge 75,000 lift in the number of bridging visas over the past two years alone as the permanent migrant intake was cut.

Jonathan Granger, director of Granger Australia and a former national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, previously described the migration program as “chaotic”, as evidenced by the blow-out in bridging visas:

“The resources available to the department are limited every year by Government, and yet Government rolls out reform agendas that are not well thought through, that require transitional arrangements and require multiple layers of processing against regulations in the same visa areas,” he said.

“The result of those things is significant delays”..

Mr Granger said the program changes and lack of resources meant there were growing numbers of visa refusals that ended up at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The most “chaotic” aspects of Australia’s immigration program is not the surge in bridging visas, but its sheer size, which is running at roughly triple the historical average:

And this comes despite the majority of Australians favouring a lower immigration intake, as evidenced by most recent opinion polls:

  • Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
  • Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
  • Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
  • Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Coalition Government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year;
  • CIS: 65% in the highest income decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up;
  • ANU: Only three out of 10 Australians believe the nation needs more people;
  • Newspoll: 80% of NSW voters do not want the state’s population to increase.
  • Australian Population Research Institute: 72% of voters say Australia does not need more people; 50% want immigration to be reduced.

Instead of juking the immigration statistics with transitional bridging visas, the Morrison Government should simply listen to the wishes of the electorate and halve the immigration intake back to historical levels.

I’m not be holding my breath though.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist


  1. Give up on the issue… negative GDP print would occur Following quarter… never going to have a politician that will be in favour of a cut

    • “… never going to have a politician that will be in favour of a cut…”

      Correct. They are leeches and parasites, top to bottom.

      • Torchwood1979

        Never give up, never surrender!!!! Not even when your opponent is a massive lump of rock with no balls (ie. Morrison).

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        Good. This is the single biggest issue for me (Immigration). I try to raise this with friends and family. Most are unaware of the financial / societal consequences other than the increased congestion aspect. But no clear appreciation of how hard Australia is running its immigration program compared to other countries.

      • @ES. Other than MB readers almost no-one has an understanding of the scale, and impossibility of even keeping up with, this massive economic migration. Most people I talk with are in denial, then shocked, to learn of the actual numbers.

      • Onya Leith.

        To quote Winnie…

        ‘…never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.’

        We shall prevail against these mongrels, one way or another.

      • morgsMEMBER
        ”. Other than MB readers almost no-one has an understanding of the scale, and impossibility of even keeping up with, this massive economic migration. Most people I talk with are in denial, then shocked, to learn of the actual numbers.”

        On par with the ignorance (based on total lack of information presented to them) as to how much money the 1% or should I say 0.1%ers really have in comparison to the rest of society. ie 10x more than they can imagine it to be. If they knew, Morrison , would never have gotten in and thats before the non tax paying status of these people and entities and totally disregarding the power these parasites have over the government and people.

    • I spent 2 hours on a bus in Brisbane to go 5km last night and missed half of my son’s concert. pls don’t give up.

      • Suit and very unfriendly shoes. In the end I had to walk a k anyway since I had to get off early and walk straight there. What a joke. Don’t think there was even an incident just pure infrastructure fail.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Brisbane transport. LOL

        It works generally ok most of the time, when conditions are perfect. But the slightest little issue and it all turns to the proverbial. For hours.

        Took me 2 hours to get home the other day (usually 20 mins) because some poor soul decided that earth was not for them.
        At 5pm
        The result was complete and utter chaos for the next 2 hours.

        I have it on good authority that they often cancel bus services because the traffic is bad. I don’t really know what the rationale is behind that…

      • I have not taken public transport in Perth for 8 or 9 years now,… its always quicker to skate, cycle, or if over say 10km, drive a car.

        Even Perth with a modest population of around 2million is becoming a congested cluster-fvck 2 hours either side of peak hour… At least here population growth is lagging the rest of the capitals (apparently..)

    • Time to move on from GDP as an assessment of the ‘health’ of a country and economy. At least move to GDP per capita being the standard, as a starting point.

      But we need other forms of assesing the health of the country, productivity rates, amentity valuations, congestion and healtcare response rates.

    • It will be even better than before … All those hard working immigrants making Australia more productive. Local will have to lift their game to keep their jobs!

  2. The Americanisation of Australia. They allow illegal wage workers to come in but never give them citizenship.

    Dubai-fication would be better. Reserve some jobs for Aussies – truck driving, accounting, computer networking – and let the foreigners pick seasonal fruit.

    But AUS is the opposite of Dubai. Foreigners are allowed to work in the government-funded NBN while young Aussies are told to go and pick fruit!

      • I can’t agree. I’m more than willing pick fruit but it’s the logistics that prevent it from being a viable option. You have to become an internal wandering migrant to get the work. The towns/regions that have picking work have nothing for work in the off season (or enough water for extra population) so no point settling. What do you do with all your possessions? Spend more than you earn picking to store them? What long term effects does this intermittent work have on your credit rating? Rental history? Job history and future employability? The whole picking industry is a rort and cannot function without migrant labour or govt intervention to supply and assist Australian workers so they aren’t going five steps backwards by having a go.

      • As I said, ban foreigners from driving trucks here so that the fruit delivery jobs are given to Aussies.

        Let foreigners pick seasonal fruit and never give them an Aussie passport.

      • Quick 3 second sound-bite of LVO proposing changes to immigration.
        Reporter: “But mainstream economists reject LVO’s proposals, labelling them as extreme”
        Cut to 30 second Alan Kohler/Shane Oliver/Greg Jericho explanation of LVO’s extreme views.

  3. Gerry Harvey’s out with his ‘thank you Government’ ads again. As blatant as it gets.

    • Those ads infuriate me every time I hear them. One reason I’ll never shop at Harvey Norman.

  4. Increasing bridging visa numbers are eclipsed by the 77,000 additional international students that came in last year. That is the real immigration story here. The bridging visas are made up of former international students who won’t go home. It is all the same thing…

      • It’s about 75,000 additional foreign students & partners in the last year.
        You have to look across a number of Visa categories for the foreign student primary visa holder numbers & also seperate out their partners on secondary visas from the other visa groups.

        Here are the full numbers as best you can reconcile the DHA, Visa Sure & Aust Education website data.

        March 2019
        2.561 million non residents Temporary visa holders

        1,866,089 who are non Resident TR, the vast majority are third world unskilled & at least 1.4 million are working & living illegally in visa breach.

        Plus another 695,760 on a NZ SCZ with 278,304 of those as non NZ born & third world unskilled.

        Total 2,561,849. Up 5.3% in the last year.

        The full list as of March 2019.
        Sources: Visa Sure, DHA quarterly tables & Aust Education website.

        Visa category, the 2018 number, the 2019 number & the yearly growth rate.

        🔹Overstayers permanent stay
        2018: 63,000
        2019: 66,150 +5%

        🔹Visitor long stay, repeat stay, many are entering to live & work illegally.
        2018: 395,000
        2019: 404,760 +3%

        🔹Bridging/protection, come in as a tourist on an electronic visa virtually no checks then claim some protection need and a 5 year plus stay as they exploit the appeals process with full work rights.
        2018: 195,000
        2019: 230,000 +18%

        Foreign students & partners – please note the actual total of all foreign students & partners on a secondary visa in Australia is now 712,070 across a number of visa categories.
        The International student and post graduate visa holders are 653,000, plus another 59,000 on a ‘partner visas’ & the rest as special or scholarship visas as shown below.

        🔹International Student primary, 4 year plus stay, and many up to 9 years as they churn courses, COE & visa categories.
        2018: 526,000
        2019: 573,520 +7.5%

        🔹Post Graduate, another 3-5 year stay plus full work rights as they exploit this loophole, very long stay
        2018: 65,000
        2019: 69,550 +7%

        🔹Temp partner ‘foreign student’ very long stay – 4 to 9 years
        2018: 53,000
        2019: 62,000 +16%

        🔹Temp partners not foreign student
        2018: 38,000
        2019: 39,300 +3%

        🔹Working holiday, very long stay
        2018: 148,000
        2019: 153,400 + 4%
        90% are in Sydney & Melbourne, doing the 3 month ‘farmer or labor ring bribe’ rural work for a further visa extension.

        🔹Skilled Regional, very long stay
        2018: 20,000
        2019: 21,500 +7%
        Again heavily frauded, third world unskilled in areas where we have 20% youth unemployment.

        🔹Other Temporary Visas, long stay including scholarships & other rackets.
        2018: 70,000
        2019: 72,800 +4%

        🔹Employer Sponsored, very long stay
        2018: 152,000
        2019: 155,040 +2.4%

        🔹Business Provisional, long stay
        2018: 28,000
        2019: 28,840

        ➡️ So the Total TR number appears to be.
        2018: 1,762,000
        2019: 1,866,089 + 5.9%

        🔹Plus add on the NZ SCV

        2018: 669,000 of which 270,000 are non NZ born born third world unskilled entering via the NZ transit lounge.
        Our fastest growing third world unskilled migrant intake category.

        2019: 695,760 with an increasing ratio of non NZ born unskilled (and another 290,000 who are stacked up waiting for entry into Australia). 90% one way flow to enter NZ, get the passport stamp, then enter Australia as permanent stay.

        All up numbers.

        2018: 2,431,000 non resident permanent on a very long or permanent stay visa alibi onshore in Australia.

        2019: 2,561,849 non resident, as above & mostly third world adult unskilled with the majority on a visa pretext, many in visa breach, living & working illegally onshore. +5.3% yearly growth.

        TR & NZ SCV migrant concentrations.

        89% + concentration or 2,280,046 in Sydney & Melbourne.

        🔻1.27 million are in Sydney (pop 5.2 million)
        🔹1 in 4 people.

        🔻1.01 million are in Melbourne (pop 5 million)
        🔹1 in 5 people.

        🔻and 281,000 are elsewhere, mostly highly concentrated in other state capital cities & towns.

  5. Haven’t you heard? They have a mandate. A mandate to do whatever they want. Even better … God said it was ok.

  6. Wot, he’s a clever liar? What a CHRISTIAN. hahahahahaha

    He’s just gonna ramp up the population ponzi to save domestic demand and RE.. Surprise….oh wait. ..

  7. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Recession avoided for another 30 years by pulling the immigration leavers.
    If we doubled our intake how long would it take us to get to 100 million?,…How many in Sydney with an Australian population that high?
    Maybe it’s our unavoidable Manifest destiny to grow so large.

    • Mate, you’re a clever bloke and more importantly practical. Getting into plumbing was a very smart move, good pay, people will always need to defecate, your own boss. Just become a slumlord. You’ll get a head. Think of it, Shidney will be your oyster. This is the Aussie Dream, 21st century style.

  8. Jerbs, jerbs, jerbs….lots and lots and lots of ever crapier jerbs as we steam full speed ahead… Argentina.

  9. This might be another little booby trap left by Scummo for the next government. Now Scummo is the next government it goes off in his face! Haha.

  10. haroldusMEMBER

    On 702 we had water expert blah blah blah restrictions, blah blah blah recycling not ONE mention that Sydney now has > 1 million residents since the millennial drought.

    And Gladys was on the news saying the rise of the far right damages social cohesion……..

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Ya Can’t antagonise the Corporate sector and stay in power,…our immigration rate is decided by them and “our” elected “Representatives” behind closed doors.

      Like Thatcher said of Neoliberalism,…”There is no alternative”

    • Gladys and those other idiots can say whatever they like. A few weeks ago Sydney water levels were at 55% and decreasing at 0.4% per week. Now they’re at 53% and restrictions have come in and the desal plant has been switched on, but it ain’t gonna help because the numbers of people arriving are going to overwhelm everything they can do.

      Those extra million people will all need water to drink, bathe in and to flush their poo away. But it won’t be there. And this is not gonna happen in a decades time. It’ll be within the term of this imbecile government. They can bloviate all they like about social justice, racism and the discord sown by the far right, but Sydney hasn’t increased its water supplies to accommodate the increased population. There’s a very very hard piece of reality coming for the mass immigration crowd, and it’s coming Real Soon Now.

      It’s gonna be very bloody grim, watching this play out.

    • Yep great reporting in the AFR today…. it appears that water shortages in Sydney have NOTHING to do with extreme growth in human population over the last 10 years !! Elephant in the room AFR – absolute GARBAGE journalism they should be ashamed!

  11. Hanno Son of Bomilcar

    once you delve into our visa system in greater detail you will realise just how unimaginably messed up it is. there’s a trillion pathways for temporary visa holders to jump from visa to visa without having to be deported. you can buy yourself up to 10+ years here living and working with little to no threat of deportation if you know what you are doing.

    u come here on a working holiday visa, work for 1 year, move to an education visa, continue working, when that finally expires and you havent found an employment sponsor, either grab yourself a fake relationship or apply for a protection visa. what’s ridiculous is the processing timeframes of these visas, as soon as you’ve applied/paid for them you’re bought an automatic 1-2 years of being able to live and work in australia, and if you’re denied you can APPEAL which buys you another year and is often successful no matter how bogus the claim is. it’s a complete joke.

  12. Labor’s lost all credibility, so LNP’s going to do whatever they want to do.

    LNP will soon be seen for what they are, and the electorate will unleash on them too.

    • LNP have been in power 6 whole years, and in that time they’ve continued the scam that is our immigration system….even building on it and hiding their corruption….how does that have anything to do with Labor?

      Are conservatives ever responsible for their own actions?

      Apparently not.

      • None of which is remotely possible without Labor’s agreeing.

        No one can blame LNP for feeding the elite. That’s who they are.

        This is entirely, completely, comprehensively Labor’s fault.

      • You want to extend that even further?

        Greens changing to an open borders party has caused Labor to follow chasing votes.

        The electorate have told Labor to stick it, and you, nor Labor’s worked out that’s what happened.

        We’ll done mate. You gave Australia LNP for nine years.

      • Rich is right mate. Labor is meant to be the balance against this stuff not the co-conspirator. Labor is cactus, they have absolutely nothing to offer.

      • Can we stop pretending there’s a diff between the big Australia red and the big Australia blue. Yeah?

      • Holy moly, the cognitive dissonance in here is extreme.

        The Liberals are in power. They have been for the last 6 years and a majority of the last 30. THIS IS THE COUNTRY THEY HAVE CREATED. You hate where its gone? Look in the mirror.

        You weirdos want to have your cake and eat it to. Morrison is worse for your little pet fantasies, because he will and is importing as many coolies into the country as possible. If you are a wage slave he doesn’t care about your job prospects or your conditions. You are bing suckered and you are so disconnected from reality you can’t even see it.

        What a strange place this blog has gone to.

      • Nathan

        You haven’t addressed a thing anyone has said.

        You literally don’t have an argument.

      • Just because the blue crowd are in power doesn’t mean there hasn’t been party consensus on the key issues that have shaped the nation? Judging by the red policies at the last election, they were pushing even more extreme population growth.

      • What about at the state level, where after years of power from team red we end up with just more giant white elephant infrastructure and equivocation on energy issues etc?

    • hareebaMEMBER

      Yep. And then vote the farqers back in. Labor is the problem. I hate em now. Albanese what a soft coq.

  13. Shouldn’t this be “Globalist traitors Morrison Government hides immigration boom in bridging visas“?

    Or do we save that language for Labor?

  14. With the story on SMH yesterday about water restrictions, some 250+ comments and a huge proportion are anti immigration. Bunnings is going to get a run on pitch forks if this starts to get worse.
    I’ll stoke the fire as well. Going to go and water my driveway.

    • I think you can forget trying to change the status quo through opinion or facts.
      It will be something like a water crisis which might be a catalyst for change in immigration numbers but only when it gets very, very serious.

  15. The statement about the reason for the bridging visas as follows – is incorrect “One of the reasons why NOM continues to rise in the face of the lower permanent migrant intake is because temporary bridging visas – awarded to migrants awaiting substantive applications for permanent residency – have ballooned.”

    Bridging visas are issued for a range of reasons. The most common reason is in fact due to people appealing a decision to cancel or not grant a visa. If the person is already in Australia, they are then granted a bridging visa pending the outcome of their appeal. Due to the massive number of people appealing decisions, the backlog (and time that it takes for the appeal to be determined) is very long (sometimes up to 2 years). Bridging visas are also granted when someone is waiting the outcome of an application for a further visa or for permanent residency, but it isn’t the primary reason behind the surge.

    A lot of temporary migrants (such as fake students) who are out here to work, now know that once their student visa expires, they can just apply for another visa, get a bridging visa, wait for it to be knocked back, then lodge an appeal, and in all likelihood get to stay in Australia for another 2 years.

      • as opposed to the cultural marxists who infiltrated the organisation and set aside every decision to revoke a visa??

      • fitzroyMEMBER

        The people of whom I was thinking had no agenda to pursue other than to come to a fair decision on the law as it is.

      • “the people of whom I’m thinking had no agenda to pursue other than making a fair decision” Keith Moore from the Herald-Sun in Melbourne ran a series stories last year which refutes this completely.

      • fitzroyMEMBER

        I’m better informed than the Herald Sun. They have appointed a whole pile of sessional members, I believe, to deal with the backlog.

      • @fitzroy yes they have appointed a large number of new members, however I can’t see how this batch would be worse than the leftist activists who infiltrated the AAT and set aside the overwhelming majority of decisions to revoke visa’s despite evidence of criminal convictions etc.

      • fitzroyMEMBER

        I know some of those people personally. They have been appointed from the bar or the bench to get the work done. The waiting lists are huge. If people are unhappy they can go to the Federal Court. I’m sure both sides of politics had a whinge last year over appointments, but you will see that many of the appointments are part time so the work can be got through economically and that the lawyers don’t lose their practice in the meantime. Like any tribunal some will be Luke Skywalker and others Darth Vader.

      • @fitzroy I’m very familiar with the arbitrary decision making processes of AAT members.

  16. Jolly Trollop 2

    I had some hope things would change election time but with the coalition back stronger than before we may as well conceed this is what the voters wanted. External factors will force change if any. All i hope for now is that Sydney water levels contine to plunge fast and that we out do Johannesburg with no water supply. To think back in April 2017 Sydney dams were at 96 % capacity and in two years its now half that thanks to an extra 1 million people in the past decade maybe forced thirst will finally evoke riots on Sydney streets regarding mass immigration….

    • Ignoring water restrictions is shaping up as one of the major ways the ignored majority can protest against the crush-loading.

      • There is only so much water I can drink a day. I’m already taking 3 showers, washing my driveway daily. Going to start leaving on taps in the bathroom and kitchen at work.

      • Sydney really should get behind ‘leave your tap on” Tuesdays to protest against crush-loading ponzi immigration policy… EVERY TUESDAY so its measurable and doesn’t go unnoticed ….

    • It is absolutely not what the electorate wants.

      We are failing to coordinate and completely wipe out Labor. That’s the problem.