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Immigration and recession



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Philip Ruddock MP 7 Ϋ

Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

IMMIGRATION AND RECESSION

Dr Birrell's paper, "Immigration and the Recession" is a timely reminder of the depth of the recession engineered by Labor policies and its impact on all Australians.

The statistics confirm what has been a long held suspicion that migrants from a non-English speaking background who have been here for less than 12 months are the worst effected in times of high unemployment.

The figures suggest that intending migrants are not properly briefed on the employment and general economic situation in Australia before they make the decision to migrate.

Australia has been less than diligent in providing information on the Australian labour market, skills recognition processes, skills shortages or unemployment figures at overseas posts. There is an urgent need to ensure that intending migrants are fully and accurately prepared for the reality of Australia today and the devastating effects of the Hawke/Keating policies.

More than ever there is a greater need to maintain the skills bias in our migration program to ensure that those who do have a higher level of education, skills and qualifications will find it easier to enter the workforce during any recovery.

The Opposition has clearly and consistently maintained that in the short term, our immigration program will fall. We believe, and the statistics support our contention that this shortfall has occurred because people are

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less willing to come here when our future looks so uncertain and our capacity to absorb immigrants is considerably reduced. Also, the maintenance of proper tests to obtain a quality outcome through the use of selective criteria based upon age, skill, education and employability, will also see the program continue to fall.

While changes could be approprate in the balance between the concessional family reunion category and independent entry, abandonment of family reunion considerations would not be appropriate. Research has shown that the presence and support of family members in a new country is an important determinant in successful settlement.

There is some scope to more closely align the concessional entry requirements to the skilled category, particularly in the area of English language proficiency. This was an issue raised by FitzGerald in his CAAIP report and one which the Labor Government rejected.

The Opposition believes it is important to view the question of maintaining a balanced program which ensures that the overall impact of policies will produce an outcome which is more skilled, more qualified and more employable.

July 2 1991

Contact Philip Ruddock after hours on (06) 249 7749