As if Australia weren’t already struggling enough with the fallout of rapid population growth, parents of migrant Australians will get a virtual green light to join their kids if Labor wins the May federal election.
The proposal could see tens of thousands of new migrants flow into Australia, and taxpayers will foot the bill, estimated at $410,000 per migrant parent.
Labor promises to get rid of the system currently in place, which makes Australian families choose which set of parents receive a visa, but the Coalition is warning that it’s a ‘cruel hoax’, AAP reports.
Labor says that the cap currently set at 15,000 parents a year will instead be ‘demand-driven’.
‘Many elderly parents want to reunite with their families but have to travel to Australia as tourists — proving costly, frustrating, disruptive and exhausting as they ferry between countries,’ Labor leader Bill Shorten said on Monday.
‘The most heartless, callous and cruel condition of the Liberals’ visa is that they are forcing families to choose between which parents or in-laws they reunite with by limiting the visa to one set of parents per household.’
Migrants to bring more family into the country
Labor intends to announce Long Stay Parent visas, which will allow families to bring out both sets of parents.
However, the Coalition believes that removing the cap means that nearly 100,000 people will apply for the new visa, according to AAP.
There will be a decline in the costs. A three-year visa will be reduced from $5,000 to $1,250, and a five-year visa will fall from $10,000 to $2,500.
At the moment, temporary parent visas can’t be renewed while holders are in Australia. Labor is promising to change that, which would allow parents of migrants to renew their visas without having to leave the country.
However, Labor are keeping quiet on the number of extra visas to be awarded after the removal of the cap.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said there are over 97,000 people currently trying to get various kinds of parent visas to come into the country, AAP reports.
‘Under Labor’s new visa, there is absolutely no limit to the number of people who can enter the country for up to 10 years,’ Mr Coleman said.
‘This is no way to run a sensible immigration program, or population policy.’
Labor claims Coalition broke promise
Mr Coleman said that the Coalition had checked with migrant communities to advance the current policy in 2016 and 2017, however Labor claims the Coalition had broken its 2016 election promise, which claimed the government would introduce a new parent visa in 2017.
The minister also stated that in 2016, during the Productivity Commission, it was found that every permanent parent visa holder cost taxpayers up to $410,000, according to AAP.
‘Labor knows full well that this proposal would be completely unsustainable. It is trying to perpetrate a cruel hoax on migrant communities,’ Mr Coleman said.
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