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PM warns of crackdown on migration ‘rorts’

PRIME MINISTER PRESSER
The Prime Minister has warned of a potential crackdown on international students. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Sam Ruttyn

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has refused to reveal details of the government’s planned cuts to overseas migration on the eve of a massive overhaul of the “neglected” and “broken” system.

The government will next week reveal its new Migration Strategy following a “once-in-a-generation” review of the immigration system by former senior public servant Dr Martin Parkinson.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, Mr Albanese said the government was aiming to return migration to pre-pandemic levels but refused to provide a specific yearly migration target.

“We have a plan to fix migration by ensuring Australia can get the skilled workers that Australia needs, but putting an end to any abuse and any rorts,” he said.

“The new Migration Strategy we’ll announce this week will bring migration back to sustainable levels. There was always going to be a jump post-Covid in our migration numbers.”

PRIME MINISTER PRESSER
The Prime Minister has warned of a potential crackdown on international students. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Sam Ruttyn

Migration has become a heated topic of debate between the government and opposition, with housing stress and cost of living pressures being partly blamed on increased migration.

Mr Albanese said the Department of Treasury projected migration will decline significantly over the coming financial year, despite the intake being tipped to exceed 500,000 this year.

Asked if the cuts would include the incoming international students, Mr Albanese would not confirm if education-based visas would be reduced. However, he did issue a warning to anyone looking to game the system.

“It’s important … that people coming from countries like India … Indonesia, continue to get access to high-quality courses that make a difference them but also produce income for Australia,” he said.

“But, what we have seen in the Parkinson Review, and other reviews of migration indicated this, is that in some cases, the system has been abused.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
International students started returning to Australia after the end of Covid lockdowns. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone

“People are coming here, enrolling in courses that don’t really add substantially to either their skills base or to the national interest here.

“So, it’s not in the interests of our neighbours, nor is it in the interests of Australia, that there not be a crackdown on this. We’re determined to do that.”

Mr Albanese also skirted questions about the arrest in Melbourne on Friday of a sixth immigration detainee released after a ruling by the High Court.

The Prime Minister said it would be up to the courts to determine whether the released detainee, who was born in Eritrea, would be re-detained.

“We will not risk any legal consequences by trying to pre-empt those processes,” he said.

“I make this point, the High Court made the decision. We had to respond to what was the law, because governments should not break the law.”