Migration to Australia will be Economic Policy, Not Welfare Policy

October 24, 2013

Coming down heavily on agents and companies misusing the country’s 457 visa program, the Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison pointed out that the immigration system was in dire need of “stability” and clarified that migration could only be an "economic policy” and not a “welfare policy."

Speaking at the Migration Institute of Australian in Canberra, Mr Morrison issued a stern warning, saying that anyone who abuses provisions of the 457 visa program will be punished, just as harshly as people smugglers.

Strict implementation of 457 visa provisions

The Coalition government in Australian which assumed power last month has hardened its position against illegal immigrants, particularly the asylum-seeking boat people. But dealing with the 457 visa program, in his address, Mr Morrison made it clear, that employers recruiting overseas could expect stricter measures to be in place, in the coming months.   

Following allegations of rampant violations of the 457 skilled visa provisions, former Labor government in Australia had alleged that employers were not recruiting among local Australians before seeking candidates overseas. Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard had gone to the extent of terming the system as "out of control."

Following the allegations, the government began a major crackdown on offenders.

The modified provisions have already hurt Indian companies hard, impacting their bottom-line, as they face restriction on recruiting workers from India.

Australia welcomes skilled migrants

Attempting to mollify sentiments among skilled migrants, Mr Morrison alleged that the former Labor government had wrongly “demonised” skilled migrants coming to Australia under the scheme.

Seeking to widen the debate, Mr Morrison said, all Australians were migrants unless they had a lineage linked to the indigenous population. Foreigners migrating to Australia would always be a strong part of the country.

The nation was such a success because of those people who had moved to it, he said.

Mr Morrison said the government was pitching hard for the significant investor visa program, declaring that it was his goal to widen that scheme and attract more big businesses into Australia.

In his address, the minister also touched upon the question of student visas. 


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