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'Millions of temporary migrants have little to no pathway to permanency': Kristina Keneally

An Australian style-points-based immigration system should be introduced into the UK by the end of the year, the Home Secretary will reportedly tell Cabinet. Source: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/SBS

The Australia Labor Party believes millions of people in Australia are being denied an opportunity to become part of the community through permanent migration.


Highlights:

  • Labor Party accuses the federal government of promoting temporary migration.
  • Net overseas migration is assumed to fall from 232,000 in 2018-19 to be 31,000 in 2020-21.
  • There are millions of temporary migrants in Australia struggling for a permanent visa.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Kristina Keneally told multicultural media at a virtual press conference that the ability to settle permanently in Australia, to become part of the Australian story and to contribute in the next chapter of the story is something that has been denied to the millions of temporary migrants who are currently in Australia, who have little or no pathway to permanency.

"Scott Morrison looks Australian people in the eye and says he has capped migration, he has done no such thing."

He has put a cap on the number of permanent migrants. However, temporary migration has now scored historically high levels, and it's changing who we are as a nation.

Federal government, however, denies the allegations by the labour party.

Office of the Minister for Immigration Alan Tudge told SBS Hindi that three quarters of temporary visa holders with work rights in Australia are New Zealanders, international students or working holiday makers.

"Last year a record 204,000 migrants became Australian citizens, meaning they pledged to become part of our nation and our people and to uphold our values," an email-response reads.

It is estimated that Australia's net migration intake will be significantly lower in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 related travel bans.

Earlier this month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave the federal government's economic update, revealing net overseas migration (NOM) is assumed to fall by a massive 80 per cent in 2020-21, compared to last financial year.

Senator Kristina Keneally speaks to the media during a press conference at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING
Senator Kristina Keneally speaks to the media during a press conference at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020.
AAP Image/James Gourley

Net overseas migration 'is assumed to fall from 232,000 in 2018-19 to be 154,000 in 2019-20 and 31,000 in 2020-21,' stated the Fiscal Update.

Ms Keneally says the idea of Australia is a nation that has been built by the permanent migration and we are the most successful multicultural nation.

"Many multicultural communities will now that their family have come to Australia, to settle permanently, to send their children to school, to get an education, to join their local communities, to start doing business, to build careers," said Ms Keneally.

"When we talk about what our migration levels should be, we cannot just talk about in numbers; we need to talk about the composition and particularly whether or not we are becoming a guest-worker nation with an underclass the people who have very little ability to assert their rights or access the same services as other people in this trying community."

Federal Minister for Immigration has said in the past that Labor continues to be all over the shop on migration as Kristina Keneally desperately seeks attention.

"Migrants have been and will continue to be an important part of the Australian economy and our multicultural society," Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge had said earlier this year.  

The crowd is seen during the 2019 Parramasala Festival Parade in Sydney, Friday, March 15, 2019.
The crowd is seen during the 2019 Parramasala Festival Parade in Sydney, Friday, March 15, 2019.
AAP Image/Paul Braven

Mark Glazbrook, a registered migration agent based in Adelaide, explains actual permanent visa grants could be closer to 100,000 this year.

"With NOM anticipated to be around 31,000, it is likely that the permanent program will also be reduced from 160,000 or that the 160,000 total will be a soft target and actual permanent visa grants [could be] closer to 100,000," Mr Glazbrook said.

He says cutting down on immigration will adversely affect the economy, especially the businesses in regional Australia.

'Now is not the time to be reducing migration to Australia as there are many key and critical industry sectors that are unable to address current and future workforce needs," Mr Glazbrook told SBS Hindi.

According to Ms Keneally, that's never been the Australian way, and that's not the Australia we want to create and for this future.

Approximate make-up of Australia's temporary migrant workers.
An approximate make-up of Australia's temporary migrant workers.
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"I make that point because the borders are shut right now, and soon Australia will have an opportunity to do something that it has never done before, which is restart migration programme from standing still."

"It's not just about a number. It is about the composition, about making sure that Australia remains the country that is built by permanent migration, not in an economy that is propped up by temporary migration," said Ms Keneally.

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