Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Residency visas for parents of migrants to cost Australia 2.4 bn USD annually: report

Permanent visas given to parents of migrants to Australia will cost the taxpayer more than 2.4 billion US dollars annually, a report from an independent policy advisory board has found.

The Productivity Commission has slammed the current federal government policy surrounding visas given to parents of migrants, and has called for a change which would see permanent visas given to parents only in compassionate or extreme circumstances.

The commission recommended the creation of a temporary visa which would be given to parents of migrants, which would leave the parents or the children responsible for covering their own health and welfare costs.

The Productivity Commission estimates that it costs up to 300,000 US dollars to cover the relocation of each parent after health, welfare and aged-care costs are considered.

  • It also estimates that 8,700 parents are coming into Australia annually under the scheme, meaning the cost to the taxpayer ends up being around 2.4 billion US dollars every year.

"Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group," the report said.

Changing the rules surrounding parent visas would slow the intake of parents as well as relieve the burden on the taxpayer.

While the commission acknowledged the positive impacts of migration and the visa on the economy, it also said the growing migration rate meant infrastructure and environmental development would lag behind the required rate in the future.

"Environmental considerations and Australia's absorptive capacity are conspicuously absent, as is the investment infrastructure required to provide services to the growing population," the report said.

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