The government of Australia is planning to increase the waiting period for immigrant families to avail state benefits from the current two years to four years.
Thousands of migrant families in Australia will be affected if the government accepts the proposal to increase the waiting period for people to access welfare and tax benefits, a Senate Estimates hearing revealed on May 31, SBS News reported.
Nearly 66,000 migrant’s families will have to wait for four years as opposed to two years to avail the tax benefits. Around 47,000 people can face the restrictions on accessing Newstart allowance which is an income support payment allowance for the worker who is still unemployed and looking for work. The restrictions can also be implemented on Youth allowance and other payments as well. This will happen if the proposal passed the parliament, officials of the Department of Social Services told senators, according to Daily Mail.
The Federal government is planning to exceed the waiting time from current two years to four years for migrants to access welfare payments from July 1. The welfare payments include- parental leave, carers’ allowances and the family tax benefit.
The extension was announced in December budget review. The exceeding time of four years will save the government an additional AUD$200 million. However, Shane Bennett, Department of Social Services officer showed concerned about the decrease in number of migration due to this proposal.
“There is evidence from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that reflects access to social security systems is not necessarily high on the factors people consider,” Bennett told the Senate, Daily Mail reported.
Bennett further added that the non-humanitarian permanent migrants had effectively lower take up rates of income to support the general population.
The move of extending the wait period will “encourage self-sufficiency for newly arrived migrants,” spokesperson for the department of social services told earlier to SBS News. The spokesperson said that the move was designed to make sure that migrants coming to Australia for economic reasons should be well placed to support themselves when they arrive in Australia.
However, the exemption will be granted to the newly arrived immigrants who are facing the sudden loss of funds because of significant change in circumstances and victims of family violence by the department.
Indian nationals are one of the largest migrant groups in Australia moving in search to work or pursue higher studies. The Australian Department of Home Affairs released the statistics reports which shows that the number of Indian applicants increased by 32 per cent.
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