300,000 migrants next year!

Michael Pascoe, Crikey, May 2007

"We’ll decide who comes to Australia -- lots and lots of people in ever-increasing record numbers," John Howard didn’t say yesterday amidst all the reporting on wages inflation remaining tame.

... the big elephant in the livingroom is the record and rising supply of labour from overseas.

John Howard won’t be campaigning as Australia’s greatest champion of immigration and multiculturalism despite overseeing the importation of nearly 300,000 people in the 2006-07 financial year. Such irony.

Instead, the Government is downplaying migration numbers. Minister Kevin Andrew’s Budget media release announced an increase of 5000 in the skilled migrant category to give a migration program total of 152,800. Overlooked in that release was the 13,000-strong humanitarian migration category. Along with another few hundred in the "special eligibility" category, the total is about 166,000 ...

Anecdotally , there’s certainly no slowing in the growth of 457s, which would mean we should crack the 100,000 next year ...

Also not counted as part of the official migration figures are citizens of New Zealand ... Let’s assume the stronger Australian economy continues to attract them at that rate and round the number to 24,000.

... Also tucked away in the Budget was a new visa category for foreign students who have completed professional training here. It will allow them to work for 18 months while they gain professional experience in their field of study and improve their English.

It’s considered a "transitional" visa -- neither temporary or permanent -- but looks like being given to many who previously would have gone straight for the "skilled migration" permanent category. Could there be 10,000 of them? I don’t know -- but it would round out the numbers to a neat 300K ...

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