Migration

The Fraser Government introduced a new migrant selection system in April 1982. It made more generous provision for family migration, subject to sponsors guaranteeing accommodation and employment, but virtually excluded other applicants whose skills were not in demand. Cabinet endorsed an annual intake of 115,000 to 135,000 migrants for the next three years and a refugee and special humanitarian intake of 24,000 for 1982–83. However by January 1983, recession and unemployment had cut the estimated intake for 1982–83 to around 90,000 and there was increasing community concern about the continued migration of skilled tradesmen and the unrestricted migration of around 20,000 New Zealanders each year. The Hawke Government set a migration target of 80,000 to 90,000 for 1983–84, including 20,000 refugees. New Zealanders would continue to have unrestricted entry, but this arrangement would be monitored to ensure that it remained in Australia's overall interest. Citizenship qualifications were eased by reducing the residence period from five years to two and reducing the English language requirement from adequate to basic. Immigration Minister Stewart West also recommended that less emphasis be given to skilled migration and more to the training of Australians.

Selected documents

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019