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Government discussing plans to overhaul permanent residency process: report

Source: AAP

The plan under discussion proposes a mandatory provisional visa before an applicant can be granted permanent residency.

The Federal government is examining a plan to radically change Australia’s permanent skilled migration system that proposes to introduce a mandatory provisional visa before a migrant is granted a permanent resident’s visa.

Fairfax Media has accessed the documents marked as “sensitive” and “protected” which were examined by national security committee months ago and are expected to be put before the cabinet early next year.

One of the aims of the move is to deliver budget savings by limiting access to social security payments for newly arrived migrants.

However, concerns have been raised that the proposed plan could create a divide in the Australian society.

"The proposed reforms could undermine Australia's social cohesion and potentially increase the risk factors that may lead to violent extremism by creating a two-tier society where migrants are treated substantially differently to Australian citizens,” reads a discussion paper prepared for a meeting between DIBP boss Michael Pezzullo and his counterpart in the Department of Social Services.

The discussion paper further said that treating migrants with suspicion may adversely affect their willingness to contribute  to the Australian society.

It also said restricting access to social security payments by provisional visa holders would contravene Australia’s national obligations towards vulnerable migrants.

The discussion paper also states that the move may prove to be unpopular in the community given that one in two Australians were either born overseas or have a parent born outside Australia. 

The Australian Greens Party criticised the government for trying exploit the "fear and division" in the community. 

"What we are seeing is the (immigration) minister attempting to exploit fear and division within our community, playing the race card at a time when we need unity," Greens leader Richard Di Natale told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

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