Economic own goal: evidence does not justify Government cuts to migration

19 Mar 2019 |

The reduction in permanent migration announced by the Government today is not justified by the evidence, Australia’s largest network of businesses, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said today.

Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said, “The cut to the permanent migration cap by 30,000 to 160,000 is disappointing. Although the actual intake last year was close to the revised cap, the business community hoped that the Government would act on the evidence that the previous cap was justified by the value that migration brings to Australia.

“The government has scored an economic own goal. Bringing in younger skilled migrants to meet skill gaps not only delivers economic benefits but also, it has led to a lowering of our average working age. This means that there are more people paying taxes and helping to fund the health and pension costs of aging Australians.

“Filling those skill gaps has been much more difficult since the government made changes to the skilled migration program in 2017.

“The reduction in the permanent migration cap will make it even more challenging, particularly in regional Australia where it is hard to find people with the right skills when and where they are needed.

“Our policy statement released ahead of the December discussions between the Commonwealth and the State and Territory Governments, Migration works for all of us, puts forward strong evidence that those changes need to be reversed and that the permanent cap at 190,000 should have been retained as it was making the strongest contribution to our economy.

“We acknowledge that people would like more migrants to settle in the regions but controlling population movement is not easy.

“Even if we force migrants to settle and stay in the regions this won’t stop Australians moving out of the country to take up work in our cities. And there is no guarantee that will be enough to fill the jobs on offer, and so economic growth will be curtailed.

“Given that the decision to reduce the cap has now been taken, we urge the government to act on its own evidence so that skilled migrants, and in particular, the employer nominated components of the program, will be become a bigger part of the smaller pie.  This is important as employer nominated permanent and temporary migrants are the most successful part of our migration program, contributing the biggest economic and demographic dividend.”

The Australian Chamber speaks for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of our economy and in every part of our country.

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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