The federal opposition and migration experts say that people coming to Australia as a permanent residence are already checked for their character before coming to Australia, after the current minister of Citizenship said it was “less than ideal” to let people come to Australia as a permanent residents without spending anytime in Australia on temporary basis.
Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, pointed for the need of changing the process of granting permanent residency of Australia, saying the process is easier for those already in Australia on temporary basis before getting their permanent residency.
In Australia-UK Leadership forum at London, Tudge said “the other half of cases - constituting about 100,000 people each year - they are granted full permanent residency before ever stepping foot in Australia. This is less ideal, and something that requires further consideration.”
He further added, “If you cannot control and select who comes into your nation, then you put your security at risk, do not maximise the economic opportunity, and make social cohesion much harder.”
Australia immigration program for skilled and family migrants allows migrants to live and work in Australia on permanent basis.
The idea of mandatory temporary residence was floating for some time now, it first came into notice in November 2016 and was to be brought before the Federal Cabinet in 2017.
The discussion paper on immigration was released last year by the immigration department asking number of questions like a prospective migrant stay for particular period of time before becoming eligible for permanent residence? What factors should be considered?
The discussion paper mentioned that around half of all permanent migrants in 2015-16 were already in Australia on a temporary visa. This is indicating that Australia temporary residence is ultimately becoming the first step to living in Australia permanently.
Contrary to this, the peak representative body of ethnic communities in Australia, FECCA opposed the proposal. According to them, it would limit access to basic resources and service for many new migrants. Additionally, “Provisional residence will delay the ability of immigrants to obtain employment and the integration process,” FECCA has said in its submission.
Showing concerned towards the potential change, The Federal Opposition Labour said any changes to the migration program would lead to “inequality or create unfair barriers for migrants”.
“Migrants already have to pass strict health, security, and character tests when they apply for a permanent residency visa,” Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Shayne Neumann said.
Experts also predict that there is no evidence stating temporary visa protects the Australian community as the existing provision already require visa holders to demonstrate mandatory health and character requirements.
This move may prompt prospective skilled migrants to seek alternative migration destinations and Australia may lose on the benefits these highly qualified migrants have to offer.
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