Immigration

Majority of Australians believe migration levels too high

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The Lowy Institute poll has found a slight majority of Australians believe fewer migrants should be accepted, which migration officials have suggested will be the case this year.

A slim majority of Australians believe the current migration intake is too high, according to a new Lowy Institute poll of 1,200 people.

The annual poll found 54 percent thought the intake was too high - up 14 points from the same poll last year. 

A further 30 percent said the rate was "about right", while 14 percent said it was "too low". 

Australia’s rate of permanent migration has been capped at 190,000 since 2011 - before Tony Abbott was prime minister.

Nearly every year the cap is met, but in the most recent 2016-17 financial year, the intake dipped to 183,000.

The government has no obligation to fill the quota.

Mr Dutton said the final statistics for the 2017-18 year would be available in coming months and suggested the number would again be “less than 190,000”.

A Home Affairs official recently revealed to a Senate inquiry that the numbers may end up tens of thousands below the cap this year, with only 138,086 visas granted by April 30, just a few months before the end of the financial year. The statistics suggest most of the shortfall has come from a lower intake of skilled migrants

The 190,000 cap covers permanent visas for workers, families and a smaller portion of permanent places for refugees.

But the figure does not tell the whole story of Australian immigration.

The country’s “net overseas migration” statistics, known as the NOM, track the flows of people in and out of the country.

It includes those who enter the country on temporary visas, including temporary working, student and tourist visas. It also includes Australians who leave the country, or return home after time overseas.

The Home Affairs department estimates 511,900 people will have arrived in Australia by the end of this financial year in June 2018.

Minus the 286,200 people who leave, and Australia should be left with a “net” migration of 225,700.

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