This is the question being asked on the back of the Australian governments latest proposal due to be released as a draft recommendation in November this year. The proposal is recommending a review of how much the immigration entry charges can influence a foreigner’s likelihood on being granted a visa to Australia.
The proposal will be reviewed upon the request of Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey and will be examined by the Productivity Commission which is an independent advisory board. As quoted in the Commissions paper regarding the Migrant Intake to Australia, the paper is requesting: An inquiry into the greater use of charges relative to quotas and qualitative criteria to determine the intake of temporary and permanent entrants into Australia.
Mr Hockey has the support from many of his Liberal party members including Liberal Democratic Party Senator, David Leyonhjelm. “The idea is, let’s stop choosing migrants based on all these sorts of qualitative criteria such as skills, family reunion or business-type categories and all the bureaucracy; and replace them with a tariff.” Said Senator Leyonhjelm. “Immigration is not a charity, and it’s not intended to help poor people. It’s intended to help Australia’s economy.”
Some concerns about such a heavy emphasis being forced upon the entry charge from immigrants were also addressed in the Productivity Commissions papers and included “Charging for entry may also conflict with equity or fairness objectives.”
However despite the brief acknowledgement of some of the concerns, a majority of the information being put forward through this proposal is shedding a glowing light on the benefits of basing visa applications on their financial status.
It has also been discussed by streamlining the process based on the finances of the applicant and how much they are willing to pay for an Australian visa, could assist with the controversial issue of the refugees entering the country by boat. Senator Leyonhjelm made the comparison that many people who choose to make the treacherous journey by boat can already be paying up to $40,000 per individual. If there was a standard flat fee of $50,000 this may influence people to go through the correct immigration channels and not have to endure the dangerous journey and uncertainty of getting to Australia by boat.
One thing that was reaffirmed was that irrespective of the outcome of the ‘pay to stay’ proposal being submitted, that all of the standard character and health requirements would remain the same to ensure the safety and health of the citizens in Australia is not compromised.
So at the end of the day, if this proposal is accepted as a new criteria to apply it will make the government money and encourage those migrants whom can already support themselves financially. Considering in the 2013-2014 financial year, visa fines and fees generated $1.7 billion for the Australian Government, it would be very surprising if this Issue Paper submitted by the Treasurer doesn’t eventuate into a policy.