Coalition buries migrant boom under bridging visas

Yesterday’s media was abuzz with reports that the Morrison Government had cut its migrant intake to “the lowest level in a decade”:

Australia’s migration intake has dropped to 160,000 — the lowest in a decade…

The Australian can reveal that 160,323 permanent visas were granted under the 2018-19 migration program.

The permanent migration program, which reached highs of 190,000 under Labor governments, will be capped at an annual rate of 160,000 over the next four years…

As a result of the cap, the government expects the number of permanent migrants to be even lower over the coming four years. In 2012-13 and 2013-14, the permanent migration program hit 190,000 and stayed above 183,000 between 2011-12 and 2016-17…

Mr Coleman, who will release the 2018-19 figures in regional Victoria on Thursday, said the government’s “population plan” was aimed at easing “pressure on the big capitals while supporting the growth of these smaller cities and regions that want more people”.

Curiously, the cut in Australia’s permanent migrant intake came in the same week as the Department of Home Affairs released its June quarter temporary visa data, which showed that bridging visas – given to those awaiting decisions on their applications for permanent residency – have roughly doubled under the Coalition’s watch to 205,000. The number of bridging visas also surged by 29,400 in the year to June 2019:

Therefore, the Morrison Government’s 30,000 cut in the permanent migrant intake has been achieved by ‘cooking the books’ and lengthening the queues of migrants on bridging visas, who are effectively long-term temporary migrants.

This helps to explain why net overseas migration continues to increase, as illustrated by data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

It also explains why the April Federal Budget projected rising net overseas migration over the forward estimates:

The April Budget also projected massive population increases for both Victoria (read Melbourne) and New South Wales (read Sydney) of 650,000 and 600,000 people respectively, thereby ensuring that “pressure on the big capitals” will intensify:

In short, the Morrison Government’s claim that it has cut immigration is a ruse designed to appease the Australian electorate, and has been achieved via creative accounting tricks that has shifted permanent migration into long-term temporary migration.

The sombre reality is that immigration into Australia remains turbo-charged with the unwavering support of the three major parties – the Coalition, Labor and The Greens.

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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Comments

  1. Keep them waiting and desperate, seems fine to me.

    Why offer them PR at all? Certainly don’t offer citizenship.

    Just go full Gulf States.

    • I rather like the Gulf State analogy. Just the shot for the King of Cruel, Scott Morrison.

      But there is an important question here. Would the 160K cap eventually ‘drag down’ the 270K net? Or, can you run lower permanent migration plus higher net migration, more or less indefinitely? Maybe you can.

      • You certainly can by carefully redifining what is temporary and what is permanent, though the government would never be involved in those sorts of shenanigans.

    • PR should never be offered offshore. Prove your worth on a temporary visa (by doing a job where there is a genuine skills shortage), get a medical assessment in Australia providing you are healthy (not of the same health status as a local of same age, but healthy).

      But we should also be radically reducing temporary numbers to.

  2. And all the hype about the deported Sri lankan family by the government to show how tough they are…

    • ErmingtonPlumbing

      But doesn’t everyone fall for it.
      Albo sticking up for this family who probably deserve to stay more than most, reinforces the Schtick that Labor is the “Open doors” party and yet they both are!
      Id happily see refugee numbers quadrupled as long as we had a sharp cutback (a halving at least) in the overall number of right to work visa holders and wealth immigrants in the country.
      I’m convinced millions of Australians feel the same.
      Where is our Democratic representation.

      • “Democratic representation.”
        This is an oxymoron. You either have representation, or real democracy.
        How can 1 person represent the individual interests of tens of thousand of people, or hundreds of thousands?
        Or more realistically/cynically, how can a member of parliament who votes as instructed by party leadership for virtually everything possibly represent the interests of anyone in the electorate at all?

        • Or more realistically/cynically, how can a member of parliament who votes as instructed by party leadership for virtually everything possibly represent the interests of anyone in the electorate at all?

          “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” – George Bernard Shaw

        • This is an oxymoron. You either have representation, or real democracy.

          You probably need to define “real democracy” here so you’re not the only person here who knows what you mean.

          A representative system is necessary simply from a practicality perspective.

          • Well, you could try https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/07/switzerland-direct-democracy-explained/

            “The government, also called Federal Council, is the executive power. It is composed of seven Federal Councillors from several Swiss political parties, which are elected by the Federal Assembly every four years and share the duties of a head of state. Federal Councillors rotate and every year one takes on the role of president.”
            SEVEN. More politicians doesn’t equal better government. Representatives are easily corrupted.

          • I lived in Switzerland and considered settling there permanently. I know how their system works.

            They still have representatives. But they also have the ability to challenge or bypass them.

  3. Hopefully the “skilled” immigrants on bridging visas are deported when the bridging visa expires.

    Require them to undergo drug testing. A lot of the foreign “students” are hardcore drug addicts.

    • Can you produce any evidence for your claim ; “A lot of the foreign “students” are hardcore drug addicts.”
      Or are you ventillating.

  4. Flew into Adelaide last night. Taxi driver from India on a spousal visa. His spouse apparently on a student visa to do a Masters. Apparently if you come to a regional area (vs Syd/Mel) you get an additional 10 point bonus on your visa application.

    Can somebody explain to me why we’re giving away bonus points to encourage migration at all?! And why having ruined Syd/Mel the policy is to now do the same to the other capital cities?!

    • Sure. It’s a numbers game — every additional warm body is net additive to GDP.

      The Govt gives them a visa, free education for their kids, subsidised healthcare and a State pension and they put a gloss on the GDP number and hopefully chip with some taxes (an added bonus).

      GDP is possibly one of the sh!ttest ways to measure the true state of the economy but it works beautifully for governments because it grants them the opportunity to manipulate the numbers (aside from people importation, Govt spending can also boost GDP).

      Voila! ‘Sound economic management’. All clear?

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Well GDP is now falling behind population growth. so individually we’re getting a smaller slice assuming everyone gets a proportionately equal piece as the pie grows (which of course is not the case), but I think we should be talking about GNP to present a somewhat truer picture because of the high levels of foreign ownership.

        • St JacquesMEMBER

          I also forgot to mention that GDP or even GNP driven by population growth fails to show the costs imposed on the population by that sort of crude economic growth.

  5. Keep Distinguished Talent, Business Innovation and Employee sponsored.
    Fvck off General Skilled and Parent as this is where the rot of the system is and then you’ll have enough resources to stringently test Partner and the rest of the categories.
    The look at all the rorts going on with bridging visas and being able to reapply almost indefinitely. If you’re on a temporary visa, know it’s temporary and you might be sent home.

    • @Jasbae 100% f$$ k off the parental & general skilled. What does ‘general skilled’ even mean.
      On site labour hire on day rate require mime to to understand.’plug in light stand’ …. ‘mop the floor’ … ‘ fill bucket with water’ …. literal interpretation of said mime can be dangerous & costly …one guy left a 10 litre bucket sitting at top of newly carpeted stairs..anyway paid to do improv.
      It’s bizarre… watched end of doco last night where the Goldem Gate Bridge in SAN Fran was built during depression using anyone who would do it, soldiers, out of work office folk, truck drivers etc etc. GG bridge built with general skilled workers. Oz has thousand on new start that would fit this term as the jobs they won’t do (servi, cleaning, IT, coffee making, dish pig, chef, driver etc) now done by general skilled vibrantas!!

  6. It’s all corrupted
    Totally broken.
    The only answer is to take border control and visa policy & intake settings out of the hand of any government of the day.
    And put it under the supervision of an Australian people’s migration authority.

    ▪️1.9 million PR in the last decade the majority unskilled third world dependent. Non citizens foreign nationals sucking up our Medicare & welfare.
    Our resources boom and gdp per Capita squandered on a perverse form of third world foreign aid.

    ▪️Plus: 2.561 million non Australian third world migrant guestworkers on a TR/SCV..
    With at least 1.6 million on a pretext long or pseudo permanent stay visa in visa churn – living & working illegally. The epi-centre of crime & vice. A $70 billion foreign criminal run migrant underground & blackmarket onshore. Our single largest ‘industry’.’

    ▪️Plus 440,000 tourist visitors (5% of the 8.8 million tourist visitors – DHA parliamentary submission) trafficked in to living & working illegally. Again third world unskilled, mostly Asian & Indian.

    ➡️We have more migrant guestworkers than Gaddafi at his peak. And his paid tax.

    • “And put it under the supervision of an Australian people’s migration authority.”
      Would that be an authority under governmental control? Filled by people selected by the government? Much like the FIRB.
      The reality is the politicians control stuff, and the only way to change that is to change the fundamental system of governance for the country

      • Well I’m not a constitutional expert – but as I understand it – the Governor General has final authority and also reserved powers – based on citizen representation (petitions) that role is compelled to act in the national interest – to initiate Royal Commissions and also to enable or disable existing layers & change or separate out of government authority & legislation – in the national interest.

        A Royal Commission into our broken border system and corrupt visa trafficking is now a decade overdue.

        I have no doubt millions / tens of millions of Australian citizens & voters would sign petition in demanding the Governor General initiate a Full Scope Royal Commission into our broken borders, corrupted visa system, and the numbers and quality of our migrant intake.
        And the end result – demanding a people’s Representative Immigration Authority to remove immigration policy & settings from any government of the day.

        A people’s representative immigration authority that decides immigration ‘policy & intake’ would comprise members who are representative of all Australians interests.

        The Australian poor, unemployed, the homeless, the Australian family with declining wages, declining living standards, those suffering with migrant overload, congestion, squalor, non assimilation, the foreign criminal run labor & vice trafficking, the visa rorting & blatant visa breach. The Australian mature age & the youth denied education as it prostituted itself as a visa alibi, denied employment and housing affordability.
        -> This is the vast majority of Australian citizens.

        The representatives would be elected not appointed.
        This would be done in conjunction with a general election or by special vote.

        Only an Australian adult citizen could vote for a representative.
        It would have a charter and guidance & be accountable and transparent to Australian citizens in all aspects of immigration policy and intake settings.

        The vast majority of candidates for such an authority would have platforms appealing to the (Australian majority Citizens) voters for:

        A complete shut down immigration.
        Rescinding the 1.9 million PR benefits & entitlements.
        Location and capacity controls on non citizens.
        Expelling a large proportion of the 2.5 million third world unskilled TR who are on pretext visas or the 440,000 Tourist Visitors also living & working illegally here.
        Shutting down the foreign student farce.
        Electronic tracking & pass controls on all non citizens.
        Visa compliance and cancellation settings & control.

        For good measure, the visa application (entry) and Appeals Tribunal (exit) for ALL migrant issues matters would also be placed under this authority, ensuring it’s a closed system.

        Those judges and process would be bound by this authorities rules, policy & processes.

        And also the policy, setting and controls of deportation & offshore detention, even if administered by DHA or other government authorities..

        The government of the day & the minister of DHA & immigration would be bound to comply and work within these settings.

        So a truely independent authority.

        And representative of only the Australian people, Australian citizens only – that can vote.
        That’s my view.

        This need has come about because both major political party in Australia has shown Australian citizens that they can NOT be trusted with immigration.

        • “The representatives would be elected not appointed.”
          hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
          I was going to address many of your points but this just exemplifies the entire problem and outstanding success of the propaganda behind representative democracy.
          The politicians you are complaining about are elected. But they are also appointed. Everyone put up for election is first appointed by their political party. Elected representatives for your new authority would also first be appointed by the political parties. It is inherent in the system. It is also a feature rather than a bug, at least according to those who created it.

          It’s all related to that one simple thought that has kept revolution at bay for centuries “If only we voted differently we would have a different outcome” and yet reality says we never do.

  7. The major factor in any animal husbandry stocking is WATER.
    Availability of Water sets the limits of stock numbers.
    So it will prove to be with Human animals.

  8. Don’t worry my Aussie mateys we will take good care of you in aged care facilities till the day you ALL die. Couldn’t say that about the treatment you gave the Aboriginals.