Rudd rolls up migrant welcome mat
October 10, 2008, 11:43 am
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has flagged a cut in immigration because of the global financial crisis, faltering economic growth and a rise in unemployment.
Mr Rudd said the current immigration rate was an increase on the previous year.
He said that increase was to meet employer demands for more skilled workers, particularly in mining and resource intensive Western Australia and Queensland.
“As with all previous governments, and mine’s the same, whenever we set immigration targets we will adjust them according to the economic circumstances of the day,” he told the Fairfax Radio Network in Melbourne.
The 2008-09 Migration Program is set at 190,300 places, representing a 19.8 per cent increase on the 2007-08 program. The figure includes 56,500 places for family migrants sponsored by people already in Australia and 133,500 places for those with special skills.
But that’s now been criticised as excessively large in a period of economic turmoil.
Mr Rudd said immigration was not one-size-fits-all across the country and the government would take advice on where skilled workers were needed.
Monash University researcher Andrew Markus has estimated that of the 21 million Australians, a quarter were born abroad – twice the proportion of the population in the United States and three times that of Britain.
Britain and New Zealand are still the largest source countries, but almost every country is represented.