Australian PM promises migration cut, refugee freeze if re-elected

April 28, 2019 08:23
1 minute read.
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 SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, trailing in opinion polls ahead of a May 18 election, on Sunday campaigned on the hot-button issue of immigration, promising to cut annual migrant numbers and freeze the country's refugee intake.

The pace of migration and the over crowding of Australia's major cities is a sensitive issue amongst voters in a nation where 29 per cent of the 25.3 million people were born overseas and where migration levels now outstrip the birthrate.
"Managing our population growth is very important to the quality of life that we have in our cities," Morrison said from a Liberal party rally in Sydney on Sunday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says net overseas migration in the year to September 2018 was 240,100.

The prime minister said if his government was re-elected it would cap annual migrant numbers at 160,000 people per year for the next four years.

The restriction does not include more than 350,000 foreign students granted visas each year, the majority of whom end up staying and who pump millions of dollars through the nation's universities, according to Department of Home Affairs figures.

Voters in the largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne where most migrants settle have growing concerns over congestion, inadequate infrastructure and the rising cost of living.

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