Dramatic drop in migration rate
AUSTRALIA'S migration rate has plunged to its lowest level in more than a decade with more visas applications being knocked back and a crackdown on fraudulent claims under the federal government's new integrity measures.
About 21,000 fewer permanent migrants entered Australia last year, putting the 2017-18 annual intake at less than 163,000 people, The Australian reports.
It's the lowest number of permanent migrants coming to Australia since 2007.
The drop in immigration will likely hit the federal budget given economic growth is linked to migration levels.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison released a report in April which showed a single year of migrants would contribute billions to the federal budget over their lifetime.
The Australian reports the drop in immigration numbers will mean budget figures will have to be revised next year.
The dramatic fall in the nation's immigration rate was reportedly revealed in a Department of Home Affairs report last week, which showed permanent migration numbers had dropped from 183,608 to 162,417 in a single year.
The Australian reports the fall was due to a 46 per cent increase in visas being knocked back and a 17 per cent increase in applications being withdrawn due to the greater scrutiny under the government's new integrity measures.
Skilled migrant numbers reportedly dropped by about 12,468 to 111,099 this year.
But the largest fall was in the family stream, predominantly spousal visas, which fell by almost 15 per cent to 47,732.
Child placements mostly stayed at the same level.
The dramatic drop in the nation's immigration rate comes amid growing calls for the federal government to slash the official cap on immigration from 190,000 to 110,000 or lower.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson have spearheaded calls for the Turnbull Government to cut the immigration rate amid concerns the nation's capital cities, infrastructure and housing cannot cope with the population increase.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told The Australian that one of the functions of the Department of Home Affairs was to be a "recruitment agency for Australia to bring in the best and brightest".
"We should not bring in one more person than we want or we need," he said.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton hit out at the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments for presiding over a "tick and flick" process to meet its annual immigration quota.
"The Coalition has restored our borders and reintroduced integrity into our migration program," Mr Dutton told The Australian.
"We ended the chaos Labor created on our borders by stopping the boats and we abolished Labor's discredited 457 visa program.
"What these figures show is that we have also strengthened Australia's permanent visa program by ending Labor's slavish drive for quantity and replacing it with a sharper focus on integrity and quality.
"I want the migration program to work for Australians, not just the migrants themselves. On my watch, we will continue to seek out those migrants who will make the best contribution to our country, including in our regions."
Read more at: The Australian