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Information vital for informed decision-making

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Philip Ruddock MP

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Federal Member for Dundas Shadow M inister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

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

Parliament H ouse Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062


The continuing deterioration of Australia's economy has led som e to call for a temporary halt to the migration of skilled people in particular to Australia. Added to this are claims that intending migrants have been misled about the economic situation in Australia.

It has been suggested that immigration officials at overseas posts have not provided intending migrants with information about labour market trends, the state o f the economy, unemployment or the cost of living.

The imputation is that had correct information been available, many people who have made the decision to migrate, would not have done so.

There is little doubt that Australia has been less than diligent in providing detailed information for intending migrants at overseas posts. This is one area which has been neglected over the past five or more years and one which needs to be urgently addressed.

A report launched early last week by the National Advisory Committee for Skills Recognition (NACSR), called "Report on Provision of Vocational Information and Counselling to Prospective Skilled Migrants at Overseas Posts", was also critical of the level o f information provided by the Australian Government at overseas posts, it read in part, "There is an urgent need to improve the provision o f information available to migrants...".

Migration carries a two-way responsibility, one on the migrant to make an informed decision, and the other on the country to which he or she wishes to migrate to provide that information and to assist in the successful settlem ent o f the migrants it accepts.

The Government has failed to accept its responsibility in providing sufficient information. The Opposition will continue to monitor the progress o f programs and administrative arrangements which have now belatedly been put in place to redress the current imbalance.

In the present econom ic climate, the Opposition expects immigration to fall. Places should still be available for those migrants who believe, after being comprehensively informed of the current state of the Australian economy, that they have a chance o f a better life here than they would in their home country.

If the best interests o f the nation are to be served, reductions in skilled and independent categories are the least desirable.

June 22 1991