As per a study conducted in 2014 it was established that Australia and Canada are the most friendly and receptive countries for immigration. In 2018 the population of Australia was estimated to be about 25 million – of which 62% growth has been achieved in the last 10 ten years – augmented by almost 40% from a population of 18 million in the 1990s. Australia’s immigration policy has been one of the key reasons behind this substantial swell in population – the 62% growth being a landmark point that was scheduled for 2050.

The history

When the British established their penal colony in New South Wales back in 1788, it was the beginning of the permanent settlement of Europeans in the country. With the introduction of the White Australia Policy in 1901, the passage of non-European migrants in the country was stopped completely. The policy also gave preference to British immigrants over other European countries. The policy was dismantled over a period and was completely lifted off in 1973.

Present scenario

For years Australia has been the role model for many countries that wanted to strengthen their economy by reworking their immigration policies in order to attract foreign workers to fuel economic growth in their countries. However, things are changing fast and rapidly in Australia. Many perceive it as following in the footsteps of other powerful western nations like US and UK which in recent times have come up with stringent immigration policies to control the issue of migration.

In a nationwide poll last year, majority of Australian voters were found to believe the immigration rate in the country is way too high and a widespread reaction towards reducing immigrants in the country was noted. This year the ruling party headed by the current Prime Minister Mr. Scott Morrison has announced that it is working on plans for a major revamp in government policies that is going to directly impact immigration.

Different visas of the current immigration program

The migration program of Australia has different classifications of which the skilled occupation visa is the one that is the most common. Students and Family Visa are other two form via which a permanent residency in the country can be applied for. The investor visa is for foreign investors who can apply for permanent residency after 4 years of stay in the country. Being part of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Australia has also been taking immigrants on the humanitarian visa.

Reasons why Australia is probably falling out of love with immigration

There are reasons why the native Australians are favouring a slow-down on immigration policies of the country. Even the government is going about changing the rules and regulations because it wants to provide a better quality of life to its inhabitants that is seemingly becoming difficult with the burgeoning population in a country that is almost same in size to mainland US but has about 303.4 million less residents.

Here are some of the issue that the country is facing today by virtue of which there is a widespread support to the present government in its proposed initiative to check immigration: –

Housing has become quite expensive especially in cities like Sidney and Melbourne. Not only that there is shortage of social housing in the country for which inadequate investment in the sector is being blamed largely.

Overburdened infrastructure is another aspect of the ever-increasing population. In cities like Sydney and Melbourne local transportation and the road network is highly congested and commuting is gradually becoming an issue.

One of the biggest impacts of the ever-increasing population in Australia is on the environment. Australia is one of the driest continents and nations of the world. Experts believe that at the rate at which the population is increasing in the country, it will not be long before environmental impacts like climate change, decrease in rainfall, increase in greenhouse gas emissions is going to take a toll on the natural ecosystem of the land. The availability of drinking water has also been a debate for long in the country, amongst Australian citizens.

Immigration was also one of the reasons to keep Australia’s population from ageing and meet the demands of the labour market for younger workers; though this concept is under lot of debate in recent times. While one group believes that immigration can in fact reduce the Australian population’s average age the other group vehemently opposes it saying that immigration cannot keep the population of the country young. Even though consensus may be hard to come by sometime soon, this topic is surely one sore point towards the immigration friendly policies of the country.

Then there is the common perception that is penetrating deep in the society that immigrants are slowly stealing away jobs from citizens that can cause the unemployment rates to hike up considerably in the coming years. In fact, many professional Australian associations have for years now been crying foul that due to intake of skilled immigrants in the country, the local skilled population is unable to obtain deserving jobs and full-time employment. No doubt that last year in the poll conducted amongst Australian citizens it was reported that more than half the population feel that the immigration rate is too high in the country which is slowly but steadily building up as an opposition to the entry of migrants in the country.

There are many in the society today who feel that the intake of non-British immigrants was not the right decision as the country was doing good and going strong during the time only English and white immigrants came to settle down. The recent episode of terrorism in neighbouring New Zealand has further worsened the situation with the society now divided on the topic of racism like never. There are some citizens though, that believe that the actual cause behind all these issues is the lack of proper policies and regulations from the Government while immigration is being made the scapegoat.

Whatever be the reason, it is a fact that Australia is planning to go slow on immigration soon.

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