The Productivity Commission’s suggestion of selling Australian visas which some estimate will be in the order of $50,000 per visa rubs against the Australian ethos of a fair-go.
Australia already has the SIV which is a pathway for the wealthy. Perhaps that scheme needs to investigated and improved. Instead what we have are proposed changes to the SIV which could actually see the wealthy turn away from Australia. Amidst all this we now have suggestions of making everyone pay absurd amounts of money for a visa. Is Australia’s skilled migration program not doing its job?
The implicit suggestion of the Productivity Commission’s investigation and the view of the quarters that support it is that migrants enter Australia and take advantage of all it has to offer namely its well-developed health and education facilities, and infrastructure and therefore they should pay for that privilege.
Radio reports even had some suggesting that migration agents be allowed to facilitate loans for visa applicants so that they can make the application.
How exactly does all this help attract the best and the brightest, to support the Australian economy over the long term?
It is time for a reality check. Skilled migrants contribute to the economy over the long-term. Independent modelling by the Migration Council of Australia (MCA) earlier this year pointed out that higher skilled migration numbers would boost Australia’s economy by $1.6 trillion in a single year.
Another reality is that Australia’s relatively small talent base requires local businesses to compete with other countries for foreign talent. Skills are a valuable resource. Skills grow businesses and the economy. Don’t turn away talent with short-sighted policies.
Any suggestion that looks to a single initial contribution is thus missing the wood for the tree. It fails to consider the continuous contribution over years of skilled work. Skills build wealth.
Prime Minister Tony Abbot has had to quell the talk of this ‘paid-visa scheme’ with an announcement yesterday stating that the Coalition government is unlikely to adopt such a scheme.
“Everyone knows that the immigration policy of this government is fairly and squarely based on what is in the best interests and what is in accordance with the best values of our country,” Mr Abbott said. “That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will stay as far as I’m concerned.”
To support this and nudge the Productivity Commission in a sensible direction, the Migration Alliance is putting together a submission and would like to include the ideas of members.