The government has not decided whether it will change the 190,000 annual cap, which has been in place for eight years, senior ministers have told SBS News.
The government has not made a decision on how many permanent migrants Australia will accept next year, immigration minister David Coleman has told SBS News.
The annual cap has been set at 190,000 since 2011 under both Labor and Coalition governments.
For most of those years, the real intake has nearly met the cap.
But in 2017-18 the intake plummeted to its lowest level in a decade, with just 163,000 permanent arrivals – made up of both skilled and family visas.
On Friday, the Daily Telegraph reported the Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton was working on a plan to lower the formal ceiling by 30,000 places, so it would roughly reflect last year’s real intake.
SBS News contacted the offices of both Mr Dutton and Mr Coleman.
They said no decision had been made, and the cap for 2019-20 would only be set after a standard, annual “consultation” with states, employer groups and other stakeholders.
“A decision on the 2019-20 planning levels has not yet been taken,” a spokeswoman for Mr Coleman said.
The minister himself said the process would take into account “Australia’s needs” and the “needs of our regions”, in a reference to the Morrison government’s plans to divert more skilled workers to non-metro areas.
The 190,000 permanent intake is exclusively for entrants under skilled and family visas that offer permanent residency in Australia.
It does not include the humanitarian stream for refugees, which is less than 20,000 most years.
It also excludes temporary entrants – like students, tourists and short-term workers – which actually make up the majority of arrivals each year.