The government’s decision to abolish 457 visas, its indeterminate references to “reviews” of skilled immigration policy, and the uncertainty of transitional arrangements is madness.
One of the quiet achievements of Australian public policy during the past decade has been our skilled migration program. Under successive governments it has become focused on delivering the skills Australia needs when it needs them.
The debate on immigration is at cross purposes. Australia should be proud of its skilled migration program. It should also champion the development, training and employment of its own people as an overarching priority. Both policies fit together. Any assertion otherwise, or muddying of the waters to the contrary, is wrong.
There are estimated to be more than 214 million immigrants in the world. They make up about 3 per cent of the world’s population, a figure that has remained steady over the past few decades.
(1998) Review of Designated Investments. A Proposal Submitted to the Minister for Immigration on Business Investment and Migration
The Investment-Linked Sub-Class 131 visa requires successful applicants to make a “Designated Investment” of between $750,000 and $2,000,000 for three years with an approved issuing authority. This investment is intended to serve as a tangible sign of the migrants’ commitment to Australia in the short term and they are expected to engage in business in the longer term.
I first met Hop Van Chu, as he then called himself, in 1984 when the then Opposition spokesman for immigration and ethnic affairs, Michael Hodgman, made some dramatic criticisms of Asian immigration to Australia. This was met with surprise and fear in large sections of this country’s Vietnamese community.
One thing off the agenda in the Prime Minister’s meetings with Indonesian President Suharto was immigration. Yet this is one of the most important issues in the developing relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
(1992) What’s Happening with Business Migration? or How to Strangle the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs
On the basis of some newspaper reports in the middle of last year, one could easily gain the impression that a large number of business migrants coming to Australia were criminals and that many were characters of suspect behaviour.
A nation’s immigration policy can reveal a good deal about moral and humanitarian issues as well as economic considerations. The recent changes in guidelines for immigration and the numbers allowed to come to Australia illustrate this point.
Anyone who knows Gerry Hand is aware of his sincerity and his integrity. Immigration, thanks to the recession and the evaporation of the post-war consensus that “Immigration is a good thing”, is looming as a significant political issue – and the Opposition’s opportunistic approach doesn’t help the debate focus on some of the crunch issues. In 1992, it is hardly a “plum job” to be Minister for Immigration.