With the Australian Federal election having been called today, I thought it might be interesting to compare the parties' recent comments about immigration policy. To access the full document, please click on the highlighted links below.
THE GILLARD GOVERNMENT
Extract from presentation by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, at the Population Australia 2050 Summit, 28 June 2010.
· We are moving from the ‘Australia needs skills’ to ‘Skills Australia needs’ approach
· A program that is shaped by employers' needs rather than by the desire of prospective migrants to come to Australia.
· We are also reviewing our migrant selection process.
· We are reviewing the Points Test scheme to ensure that it is not heavily distorted towards a handful of occupations—a problem that has been addressed through our recent changes to Skilled Occupations List.
· But there is still further work to be done. We need to ensure that our points test enables us to select highly innovative and well trained migrants to ensure we have a solid human capital base for Australia's longer term prosperity.
· My department is contemplating a new migrant selection model.
· Under this model, prospective immigrants will be invited to lodge an expression of interest to emigrate to Australia, and will be selected for migration as and when the need arises.
· Australia's net migration levels should be driven by permanent migration not temporary.
· Thanks to recent reform measures, it is expected that the net overseas migration figure will return to a sustainable long-term average
THE ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENT:
Extract from Coalition Policy Directions Paper
· The primary purpose of a nation’s migration programme is economic, namely to supplement natural increase to create critical market mass in the domestic economy and service the skills needs of a growing economy.
· The migration programme run by the Coalition will once again have the primary focus on providing skilled migration on both a permanent and temporary basis and supporting the viability of rural and regional communities around Australia.
· Key features of the Coalition policy will include:
· Further details of the Coalition skilled and regional migration policies will be contained in the Coalition immigration and citizenship policy.
- reinstatement of a genuine critical skills list designed to reflect genuine occupational skills needs of industry
- liberalisation of arrangements for temporary business visas (457s)subject to clear standards, to make them more accessible to business, especially small businesses, and business in regional areas, with proven skills shortage needs
- ensuring at least two thirds of our permanent intake is for skills migration
- encouraging settlement on either a temporary or permanent basis in regional and rural areas.