Australian migrant numbers in sharp plunge with lowest intake in a decade

Australian migrant numbers in sharp plunge with lowest intake in a decade, by Simon Benson.

Australia’s permanent migration program is on track to fall this year to pre-2010 levels through tighter vetting rules, with the estimated cut anticipated to exceed the controversial 20,000 floated among cabinet ministers last year but ultimately rejected.

The Australian understands that on the current trajectory the annual intake for 2017-18 is expected to drop to between 160,000 and 170,000, which would return the numbers to similar ­levels before the former Labor government set an official target of 190,000 a year. …

Tony Abbott

Blocked by the Australian swamp on immigration

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, who started a debate over migration levels last month when he called for the number to be cut in light of insufficient infrastructure and community concerns over integration, has claimed he sought to reduce numbers when in office but had been stonewalled.

Mr Abbott said that before the 2015 budget he argued with Treasury officials about lowering the immigration rate. Officials pushed back, ­claiming that it would damage the budget.

Mr Dutton has confirmed he had discussed the immigration ­intake with senior colleagues and the general issue of immigration with the Prime Minister “hundreds” of times.