Parent visa vote-buying undermines budget and public interest

Immigration reform should start with parent visa anachronism: Sustainable Australia

The Productivity Commission (PC) recently found that each year’s permanent intake of 8,700 migrant parents costs the taxpayer up to $3.2 billion, or between $350,000 and $410,000 per person.[1]This $3.2 billion would cover the building of a major new hospital every year[2], or greatly cut the budget deficit. The PC recommended that permanent visas for parents should be abolished.[3] To get around this, and appease migrant communities, the government is likely to soon announce a five year ‘temporary’ visa for parents of Australian migrants. But it can be continually renewed.

“The Productivity Commission has exposed a massive annual cost to taxpayers via parent migration of $3.2 billion. The proposed renewable five year ‘temporary’ visa will likely cost more due to greatly increased numbers,” said John Haydon, Immigration spokesperson for Sustainable Australia.

“In my 25 years working at the Department of Immigration, including as a director, I saw many problems with our immigration system. Parent migration cost is just the tip of the iceberg. Modern communications technology makes parent migration an anachronism. We should start genuine immigration reform by closing all permanent parent visa classes to new applicants, and not replacing it with a quasi-permanent five year ‘temporary’ parent visa that increases immigration.

“Many of the parents will be in their 60s, 70s and 80s. The government will sell the scheme on the basis of the child minding they could do for their families. But vote-buying from migrant communities clearly undermines the budget and public interest. Broad and growing welfare, infrastructure and environmental costs can’t be covered by token measures such as private health care.

“Standard Visitor visas are the best and fairest way for parents to spend time with children and grandchildren, as many already do. Outside of this, Carer and Aged Dependent visa categories cater for special parent migration cases,” said Mr Haydon. | Ends

Contact | William Bourke.

Background | Sustainable Australia made two submissions to the recent Productivity Commission enquiry into immigration, and was subsequently invited to a closed forum with Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke MP. Following this forum the party made a submission on parent migration.[4] More broadly, calls for a more sustainable annual immigration intake are growing, with many high profile commentators and economists joining the chorus calling for the halving of Australia’s annual immigration back to around 100,000. These include economists Judith Sloan[5] and Leith van Onselen[6], and Bob Carr[7], Andrew Bolt, Mark Latham, Cory Bernardi and Dick Smith.

[1] http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/abolish-investor-visa-program-commission/news-story/2ebc69fed8cbad98f450d5e0983b8ac2

[2 ] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-03/fiona-stanley-hospital-opens-in-perth-australias-most-advanced/5787160

[3] http://www.ibtimes.com.au/productivity-commission-recommends-abolition-visa-migrants-parents-or-jack-visa-fee-1528492

[4] Download submission: CLICK HERE

[5] http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/10/judith-sloan-cut-immigration-now/

[6] http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/10/evidence-clear-population-growth-prosperity-arent-linked/

[7] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/bob-carr-calls-for-australian-immigration-to-be-cut-by-onethird-20160216-gmv37n

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