Australia is set to save hundreds of millions of dollars after a refugee resettlement deal was struck with the United States. The Home Affairs Department expects it will save in the hundreds of millions as a direct result of the deal. According to Federal budget papers, the government will cut spending on offshore immigration detention from $1.1 billion to $705 million starting next year.
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The Home Affairs Department will cut the budget to $327 million in the year after that. The U.S. has agreed to take illegal immigrants from Australia being held on Manus Island and Nauru as part of the deal. The U.S. will subject them to their own "extreme vetting" of applicants but they will likely all be allowed to enter the country. The Turnbull government is also banking on the savings by reducing onshore immigration detention which will fall from $797 million to $712 million next year and $665 million the year after.
In only a couple years time, immigration efforts will be slashed by 50%. Another measure in the 2018 budget would mean migrants could be forced to wait up to four years before accessing welfare benefits. Legislation pushing the waiting period for the various benefits out to three years which it expects to save a total of $1.3 billion.
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The migrant community groups have been outraged by the move and say it could force new arrivals into poverty. Maybe they could work instead of leeching off the taxpayers? Those migrants who are a part of vulnerable groups and humanitarian entrants will be exempt. The budget extends the waiting period for benefits but it keeps the country's permanent immigration intake at 190,000 family and skilled visas a year. From the budget paper:
<i>"This measure will improve the sequencing of services available to refugees … assisting refugees to focus on settlement and improving language skills during the first 26-week period of their arrival."</i>
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