Australia accepted 162,417 permanent migrants in the past year, a decrease of more than 10% on the previous year and the lowest level in a decade.

The number was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister – Peter Dutton, who stated that the reduction was caused by the department “looking more closely at the applications that are made to weed out “fraudulent claims”

However, The Guardian reports today that have questioned the integrity of the Coalition’s “crackdown” on permanent migration, suggesting ballooning numbers of bridging visas indicates longer waits rather than more rejections may be driving the numbers.

Longer visa processing times or more visa refusals – either scenario impacts Australian businesses.

Jack Hoysted, CEO at Stirling Henry Global Migration says,

“Public support for the Australian migration programme has generally been high, certainly compared to countries in Western Europe, and that is because the programme has been rules based and has a focus on bringing in skilled migrants who will immediately start work and contribute to the economy.

Cracking down on fraudulent claims is a good thing, as the integrity of the program is a key factor in maintaining public support and community cohesion.

The government and Department need to be careful however, that they do not discourage employers and skilled migrants by making the process too difficult or the costs too high. A 46% increase in visa refusals should ring some alarm bells.”