A federal government crackdown on dodgy migration claims and tougher vetting has seen Australia’s annual permanent migrant intake fall to its lowest level in more than 10 years.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government had restored integrity to the migration program to make “sure that we’re bringing the best migrants possible into our country”.
The 2017/18 intake has plummeted by more than 10 per cent to 162,417 due to the tighter migration rules, The Australian reported on Friday.
There has been a 46 per cent increase in visa refusals, while skilled migrant numbers dropped by more than 12,000, and the family stream was cut by 15 per cent to 47,732.
Asked who was being rejected, Mr Dutton said people “that are providing false documentation, overstating their qualifications”.
“I want to make sure that we scrutinise each application so that we’re getting the best possibly migrant – people who are going to work, not be on welfare, people who are going to integrate into our community,” Mr Dutton told Nine Network.
The minister said the government had responded to community concerns about migration levels, and accused former Labor governments of “ticking and flicking applications” in order to meet an annual target of 190,000.
“The prime minister and I have done a lot of thinking and lot of talking about how we can not only listen to those concerns but act on them,” Mr Dutton said.
“There’s a lot of work we’re doing around ways in which we can provide incentives for people to … move out into regional areas, where there’s a big demand for a local workforce, and not pressure on roads and infrastructure as we might see in our capital cities.”