Increase student visas: Hartley

AUSTRALIA should slash its skilled migration program and increase the number of people on student visas to plug gaps in its workforce as the population ages, Richmond Independent Matt Hartley has said.

He said the idea Australia needed to increase its population with more skilled migrants was ‘rubbish’, and the ageing population was a temporary issue that would be solve itself as the baby boomers died out.

“The baby boom lasted about 15 years so, even allowing for a surge in life expectancy over the next decade, they will be an outstanding mass retired population for only about 20 years,” he said.

“The real solution is one we already have: Working student visas. Healthy young people who actually pay us to be here and work here.

“I have one working for me now.

“We can decide exactly how many we want. Some will fall in love, some will become indispensable, but most will return home.

“No dependants, no family reunification, no permanent population increase.”

As the debate over asylum seekers and people strugglers continues to rage across the nation, Mr Hartley accused the ‘migration industry’ of tarring its opponents as xenophobes or bigots.

And he wasn’t the only one floating ideas on who comes to our shores and the manner in which they stay when they arrive.

Page Independent Merle Summerville suggested a 12-month moratorium on illegal immigrants, during which time the nation’s immigration quota would be slashed and people in the country illegally, provided they had no criminal record, would be offered citizenship.

“The initiative would allow the Australian Government to ascertain the true state of the nation before any further immigration policies are implemented,” Ms Summerville said.

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