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Australian Government Minister claims Permanent Residency Visas should be harder to obtain

Posted in: Migration News by Rob on 27/07/2018


In a move which has caused a high degree of consternation for thousands of would be migrants, a govt minister has signalled a further tightening of visas that grant permanent residency in Australia

Alan Tudge, the Citizenship minister claims that too many migrants are granted permanent residency before they ever step foot in the country.

Last year, Australia granted approximately 162,000 PR visas – well below the annual cap of 190,000 places and the lowest intake in 10 years.

However, this hasn’t stopped the govt rhetortic, indeed, it is being ramped up in the run up to the Super Saturday by-elections this weekednd.

The minister said about half of the stream had visas granted after years in Australia on temporary visas, but the other half were “granted full permanent residency before ever stepping foot in Australia”.

“This is less ideal, and something that requires further consideration,”.

The permanent migration stream is around two-thirds skilled visas and one-third family visas for their children, parents and spouses.Mr Tudge said offshore applicants were a “challenge” because “information about individuals is sometimes difficult to obtain from abroad”.

Migrants are already required to sign a values statement when they become Australian citizens, but the Turnbull government has long advocated a stricter approach.

The government’s controversial citizenship reforms, which were blocked last year in the Senate, would have introduced a new test on Australian values as well as a tougher English exam.

But senior Coalition ministers have consistently promised another attempt at the reforms in 2018.

Earlier this month, Mr Tudge suggested a new spoken English test might be developed for all migrants seeking permanent residency, possibly including refugees, instead of just citizens.

“We place an emphasis on Australian values as the glue that holds the nation together,” Mr Tudge said on Thursday.

“We do this through requiring people to sign a values statement before coming into Australia, satisfy a citizenship test and pledge allegiance before becoming a citizen.

“The weakness of this, however, is that we presently have few mechanisms to assess people against their signed statement.”

Mr Tudge did not comment on what mechanisms might be considered.

“We need muscular ongoing promotion of our values: of freedom of speech and worship, equality between sexes, democracy and the rule of law, a fair go for all, the taking of individual responsibility,” he said.

The government’s first attempt at sweeping citizenship reforms were blocked by Labor, the Greens and key crossbenchers on the now-rebranded Nick Xenophon Team.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese criticised Mr Tudge for going overseas and “talking our country down”, referring to the minister’s comments on how migrants were not integrating to broader society as well as they once did.

“The fact is we have an incredibly successful multicultural nation,” he said.

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