Coalition government would ‘freeze immigration levels’

Mr Morrison will announce the policy today as part of a proposed overhaul of the current immigration system.

Under the new plan — which the Coalition claims will help ease congestion in our major cities — female refugees would be given priority over males, and immigration levels would be frozen, with the number of migrants coming to Australia as refugees capped at 18,750.

The announcement follows a pledge made by the Morrison government last month to slash the permanent migration level from 190,000 each year to a cap of 160,000.

“We’ve got our borders and the budget under control. We make decisions about who comes here based on what’s in Australia’s interests,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our plan for Australia’s future population is about busting congestion, ensuring our economy has skilled employees and helping those towns and regions crying out for workers, skills and students.

“Australia isn’t just about growing our population, it’s about quality of life.”

Mr Morrison said “capping and freezing” the country’s immigration growth would “take the pressure off” our cities.

“We’ve been upfront with Australia we’re reducing the cap on our migration intake and capping the numbers of people we let in under our humanitarian program that’s one of the most generous in the world,” he said.

“We’re telling people where we’ll be taking migrants from, who they will be, the skills we want them to have and working with regions to settle people in towns that want and need more workers, skills and students.”

The Prime Minister also vowed to divert refugees away from Sydney and Melbourne and into regional areas, with 40 per cent of new arrivals to be settled away from our biggest cities.

Under the plan, migrants would shift to regional areas via new visas, incentives and scholarships, with the government claiming those people would only go to areas that were able to accommodate them.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten has promised to boost Australia’s annual ­humanitarian intake to 32,000 ­people — a move he described as “strong, compassionate and sustainable”.

But Mr Morrison called on the ALP to share details of how it planned to pay for the increase.

“It’s time for Bill Shorten and Labor to front up and tell Australians about their $6 billion plan to massively increase immigration and where they’re going to house thousands of extra people,” he said.

The Coalition hopes its $100 billion investment in national “congestion busting infrastructure” coupled with the migration plan will alleviate our overcrowded cities.

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