Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the weekend ordered temporary migrants that do not have jobs and cannot support themselves to “go home”:
“These (student) visas, and those who are in Australia under various visa arrangements, they are obviously not held here compulsorily,” he told reporters in Canberra today after a National Cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders.
“If they are not in a position to support themselves then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries.
“We still have quite a number of people who are here on visitor visas.
“As much as it is lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times, at times like this if you’re a visitor in this country, it is time, as it has been now for some while – and I know many visitors have – to make your way home and to ensure that you can receive the supports that are available … in your home countries”…
“People should know though, in particular for students, all students who come to Australia in their first year have to give a warranty that they are able to support themselves for the first 12 months of their study,” Mr Morrison said.
“That is a requirement for their visa when they come for the first year. That is not an unreasonable expectation of the government that students would be able to fulfil the commitment that they gave.”
Below is an extract of the media release from the Acting Minister for Immigration, Alan Tudge:
There are 2.17 million people presently in Australia on a temporary visa.
All were welcomed to Australia on a temporary basis for different reasons including to fill skills shortages; to study as full fee-paying international students; to visit family and friends; or to work and holiday…
There has always been an expectation that temporary visa holders are able to support themselves while in Australia…
Temporary visa holders who are unable to support themselves under these arrangements over the next six months are strongly encouraged to return home. For these individuals it’s time to go home, and they should make arrangements as quickly as possible…
Temporary visa holders are extremely valuable to the Australian economy and way of life, but the reality is that many Australians will find themselves out of work due to the dual health and economic crisis we’re currently facing, and these Australians and permanent residents must be the Government’s number one focus…
The Morrison Government is right. Temporary visa holders that cannot support themselves must return home wherever possible.
Only in exceptional circumstances, for example where they cannot return home due to travel bans and face homelessness, should Australian taxpayers provide financial support and free medical care. In these exceptional circumstances, we want migrants to self-isolate to help contain the coronavirus, just like Australian permanent residents are required to do, as well as to seek medical attention where necessary.
Beyond the immediate crisis, however, the Morrison Government must also take concrete steps to slash Australia’s immigration intake, both temporary and permanent.
The number of temporary visa holders in Australia is absurd, with 2.3 million counted in late 2019, up 640,000 (38%) since 2012:
This tidal wave of temporary migrants, many of whom have been paid at below market rates and dominate cases of wage theft and exploitation, are a key reason why real wage growth has stagnated and there is so much excess labour capacity across the Australian economy.
These migrants have also helped crush-load both Sydney and Melbourne, trashing living standards.
Permanent migration also must be slashed. With millions of Australians now facing unemployment or underemployment, the popular myth that Australia is experiencing skills shortages and requires a massive (108,000) annual skilled migration intake can no longer be defended.
The very last thing the economy needs is for Australian workers to be competing for scarce jobs with huge numbers of migrants. This excess labour supply would send the unemployment and underemployment rates rocketing, as well as create wage deflation.
Once the coronavirus crisis has passed, and international travel bans are lifted, the Morrison Government must send a significant share of “temporary” visa holders back to their home countries, as well as halve the permanent migrant intake.