Immigration has again been one of the hottest topics in Australia in 2015 with a number of stories creating headlines internationally. Here is a collection of the biggest immigration news stories of the year.
Australia's Refugee Intake The Highest Since WWII
Due to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Australian Government proposed to take an additional 12,00 refugees from Syria and Iraq. The announcement on the 9th of September that the Government has promised to resettle 12,000 refugees, highlighted that the focus would be on prioritising to accept women, children and families of persecuted minorities. The first five refugees from Syria were settled in Perth in November after being processed by the United Nations.
Tense Discussions About Syrian Refugees
Questions were raised about Syrian refugees entering Australia following the Paris terrorist attacks. Government Senator Cory Bernadi raised the issue on ABC News highlighting “We have extremist elements at work in this country, why would we risk bringing in more to add to their ranks, even potentially, and bear the financial and social burden that comes with that?” But Treasurer Scott Morrison defended the decision by claiming “These would be arguably the most pre-cleared group of people to come to Australia”.
Immigration Cancels 11,000 Visas Of Non-Genuine Students
In September the Department of Immigration and border Protection revealed that they had cancelled almost 11,000 visas of non-genuine students in the past year. Chinese students had the highest number of student visa cancellations, followed by South Korean, Indian, Vietnamese and Thai students. Meanwhile the total number of student visas issued by the Department of Immigration rose from 292,060 in 2014, to 299,540 in 2015.
Skilled Visa Applications Rise By 15%
More individuals applied for Australian Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visas than ever before. The Department of Immigration received 15% more applications in 2015 than in the previous year. The categories with the most applications were accommodation and food services (37%) and information technology (31%). The countries with the most applications were India, the United Kingdom and China.
Australian Border Force Unveiled
Announced in 2014, the new operational arm of the Department of Immigration was revealed on the first of July. Roman Quaedvlieg was sworn in as the inaugural commissioner at Parliament House in Canberra. The functions of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Force were integrated into the Australian Border Force. This new front-line agency will undertake all the operational responsibilities previously held by both agencies.
1.76 Million People On Temporary Visas
The Department of Immigration has revealed statistics that show that as of July 2015 there was a total of 1.76 million people on temporary visas, 4% higher than the previous year. The breakdown of temporary visas highlighted that there were 374,570 people on student visas, 227,160 on visitor visas and 188,000 people on 457 visas.
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