Migrant intake reduced by stealth

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is calling for a reduction of Australian migrants, but the union movement is concerned that temporary visas are a bigger problem.

The Turnbull Government is publicly debating the possibility of reducing the cap on permanent migrants, even though, clandestinely, trends suggest it has managed to do so anyway.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has now entered the debate, saying that permanent migrants aren’t the problem, but the number of migrants on temporary work visas may be.

Speaking to Barrie Cassidy on ABC’s Insiders, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus expressed concerns about the Government exploiting migrant workers on one hand yet blaming them for all that is wrong with the economy on the other.

“We are shipping in exploitation and it is taking away jobs for local people,” said Ms McManus.

“So, if we wanted to do something about this issue, Peter Dutton could do something about that now and we should move away from this temporary idea of having guest workers and instead move to ensure we maintain a proper permanent migration system.”

While Ms McManus believes that we have too many people on temporary visas she wouldn’t say how many there should be.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott and other government factions want to reduce the cap on permanent migrants from 190,000 to as low as 110,000, believing such a move would reduce overcrowding and house prices.

And while no such capping policy has been created, reports suggest the national intake for 2017-18 will fall between 160,000 and 170,000.

Mr Dutton told The Australian that the 20,000 reduction is a result of the government having “tightened the screws” on visa approvals, as well as changes to visas for New Zealanders.

The Government has also introduced new rules to make it more difficult for poor migrant families to support their families, The Guardian reported last week.

Although Mr Dutton can’t ‘officially’ lower the cap due to Budget constraints, it would seem he has managed to do so anyway.

Do you agree with Ms McManus’s take on our migrant situation?

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