The Morrison Government has slashed the maximum humanitarian intake by thousands on the basis it is too difficult to bring refugees into Australia in the same numbers as before the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
The humanitarian intake was reduced from 18,750 places to 13,750 over the next four years in Tuesday’s budget.
Asylum-seeker advocates have slammed the move, saying the country should be accepting more refugees at a time when its net overseas migration will drop by hundreds of thousands a year.
But the Government insists the number of humanitarian places had to be slashed because of international travel grinding to a halt and refugee services around the world being significantly impacted.
Most of Australia’s refugees are taken through the UNHCR’s resettlement program, meaning they have to fly here from other countries to get to Australia.
The humanitarian intake will still be reviewed every year, allowing the government to return the cap to pre-pandemic levels if the global situation improves.
The change will keep Australia as accepting the third-highest number of refugees via the United Nations resettlement program, behind the United States and Canada.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the new cap was in line with last year’s outcome of 13,171 and reflected the “global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Opposition immigration spokesman Andrew Giles said the reduction in the humanitarian intake was a “very big change” and said it was possible to recover from COVID-19 and “continue to provide a lifeline to people in need”.
Morrison Government cuts refugee places by thousands (By Anthony Galloway, Sydney Morning Herald)