Australia cuts annual immigrant cap 15 percent, puts key cities off-limits to some

Australia cuts annual immigrant cap 15 percent, puts key cities off-limits to some

By Colin Packham

 

2019-03-20T042336Z_1_LYNXNPEF2J08Y_RTROPTP_4_AUSTRALIA-JAPAN.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the INPEX Gala Dinner in Darwin, Australia November 16, 2018. David Moir/Pool via REUTERS

 

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia on Wednesday cut its annual intake of immigrants by nearly 15 percent, and barred some new arrivals from living in its largest cities for three years, in a bid to ease urban congestion.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison - who is trailing badly in the polls ahead of a federal election in May - hopes to tap into rising voter frustration over house prices and congestion, which some see as a consequence of population growth.

 

"This is a practical problem that Australians wanted addressed," Morrison told reporters in Canberra, the capital, after announcing the annual immigration intake would be cut to 160,000 people, from 190,000 previously.

 

The immigration policy change comes at a time of national reflection over Australia's attitude towards migrants after the shooting of at least 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand's city of Christchurch.

 

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

 

"My great frustration is that, in addressing these issues of population and immigration programs, these debates often get hijacked by those of competing views who seek to exploit them for other causes," Morrison added.

 

"I reject all of that absolutely."

 

A ReachTel poll published in September showed that 63 percent of Sydney residents supported curbs on the number of migrants moving to Australia's biggest city.

 

Morrison said the cap would include places for up to 23,000 people who could migrate to Australia under a new skilled visa.

 

Such arrivals could gain permanent residency after living outside of Australia's largest cities for three years, he added.

 

They will be barred from living in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney or the Gold Coast, where infrastructure is overutilised, said immigration minister David Coleman.

 

Authorities will require proof of residential and work addresses in future applications for permanent residency, he added, as a way of enforcing the requirement.

 

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

reuters_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-03-20
latest news from World

Democratic presidential candidates divided over impeaching TrumpBy Tim Reid U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to board Marine One en route to his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo (Reuters) - A...

READ MORE...

STUB IT OUT Brits could be banned from smoking on popular tourist beaches in Ibiza and Majorca as police patrol new zones banning cigarettesThe government hope the crackdown on cigarettes will reduce litter and waste on the beachesBy Rita Sobot Brits could face smoking bans across popular tourist...

READ MORE...

Ukraine enters uncharted waters after comedian wins presidencyBy Andrew Osborn and Matthias Williams FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine...

READ MORE...

Sri Lanka imposes emergency, says international network involved in attacksBy Sanjeev Miglani People who live near the church that was attacked yesterday, leave their houses as the military try to defuse a suspected van before it exploded, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Dinuka...

READ MORE...
sponsors