Australian Government, 2008‑09 Budget
Budget

Immigration and Citizenship

Election Commitments

Adult Migrant English Program — extension and enhancement

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 5.2 13.3 14.8 15.9

The Government will provide $49.2 million over four years in additional funding for the Adult Migrant English Program to help migrants learn English and find employment as soon as possible. The measure includes $40.0 million for the Employment Pathways Program within the Adult Migrant English Program which will provide additional English language tuition hours to those migrants most in need, and $9.2 million for Traineeships in English and Work Readiness which aims to allow newly arrived people to continue their English language tuition while developing knowledge, skills and experience in Australian workplaces.

The measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Mirrabooka Multicultural Centre — contribution

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - 1.0 - -

The Government will provide $1.0 million in 2009‑10 towards the construction of a multicultural centre in Mirrabooka, Western Australia. Mirrabooka is an area of high migrant and refugee settlement. The multicultural centre will include an outreach service for women, homework and support service for young people and allow for organised sporting and recreation activities. This will help newly arrived migrants in making an easier integration into the community.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Visa arrangements for international touring productions — ensuring opportunities for Australian musicians and technicians

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $1.7 million over four years to ensure that international touring productions employ at least one local band or artist as a support act. This will boost the employment opportunities and exposure of Australian music industry performers and technicians.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Visa options for Superyachts crew

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $2.0 million over four years to implement a new tailored visa arrangement for the crews of superyachts. This new multiple‑entry visa subclass will allow superyacht crews to work in Australia for up to 12 months on commercial or private superyachts. This will enable foreign luxury boats to have easier access to Australia's ports and help boost Australia's tourism industry.

Until now there has not been an appropriate visa option for international crews aboard commercially chartered boats in Australia. The existing visas, including the Maritime Crew visa and Business Long Stay visa (subclass 457), do not appropriately cover the requirements of superyacht crews.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

This measure was announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on 30 April 2008.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Other measures

Case management and community care pilot — continuation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 5.6 - - -

The Government will provide $5.6 million in 2008‑09 to continue the case management and community care pilot until 30 June 2009. This will allow the Government to comprehensively evaluate the results of the expanded pilot and assess whether it has delivered the potential benefits of more timely, fair and reasonable immigration outcomes as well as reduced immigration detention costs.

The case management and community care pilot targets vulnerable immigration clients including unaccompanied minors, the elderly, and people with a disability. The pilot provides a range of services including case management, community assistance, immigration information, advice and counselling, and visa application assistance. The pilot service delivery arrangements include partnerships with the Australian Red Cross and the International Organization of Migration.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship — enhancements to liaison and operational capability in the Middle East

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $13.7 million over four years to increase Australia's operational and liaison capability in relation to immigration matters in the Middle East region.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

See also the related expense measures titled Humanitarian migration program — additional 500 places for Iraqis in 2008‑09 and Visa places for Iraqi locally engaged employees in the Immigration and Citizenship portfolio; and Overseas development assistance — Iraq humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, Overseas development assistance — assistance to Iraqi Police Service, and Overseas development assistance — assistance for displaced Iraqis in the Middle East in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship — financial management improvements, training and review costs

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 1.5 1.9 1.4 1.4 -

The Government will provide $6.2 million over four years to support improved financial management systems and practices in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

A recently completed financial health review examined the department's funding base, approach to financial management, funding pressure points, the scope for reordering priorities, and the department's funding model.

Humanitarian migration program — additional 500 places for Iraqis in 2008‑09

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - 3.9 4.3 4.2 4.3
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 3.8 2.8 0.6 0.1
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.4 2.2 2.2 2.3
Department of the Treasury - 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.9
Department of Health and Ageing - 0.4 0.9 0.9 0.9
Medicare Australia - .. .. .. ..
Total - 10.3 11.0 8.8 8.5
Australian Taxation Office - 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3
Australian Customs Service - .. .. .. ..
Total - 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3

The Government will increase the 2008‑09 Humanitarian migration program by an additional 500 refugee places for Iraqis only at an estimated cost of $35.3 million over four years. This one‑off increase will assist in the resettlement of displaced Iraqi refugees who are unable to return to Iraq due to conflict and who are in need of humanitarian care.

This increase is in addition to the 13,000 places already provided under the Humanitarian migration program in 2008‑09.

This measure includes funding for services under the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy for English language tuition, translating and interpreting services, income support costs, the expected usage of health, education and employment services by the additional permanent residents along with pre‑departure medical screening and other related pre‑arrival costs.

The costs of these services will be partially offset by an increase in Australian Government revenue of $4.6 million over four years. This includes GST of $3.3 million. As the Australian Government administers the GST on behalf of the States and Territories and all GST revenue is paid to the States and Territories, this measure includes an expense to report the transfer of GST revenue collected by the Australian Government to the States and Territories.

This measure includes funding of $0.7 million over four years for staffing and administrative expenses for Centrelink.

See also the related expense measures titled Department of Immigration and Citizenship — enhancements to liaison and operational capability in the Middle East and Visa places for Iraqi locally engaged employees, in the Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio; and Overseas development assistance — Iraq humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, Overseas development assistanceassistance to Iraqi Police Service; and Overseas development assistance — assistance for displaced Iraqis in the Middle East in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

Humanitarian migration program — additional 750 Special Humanitarian Program places from 2009‑10

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - 5.5 14.8 21.8
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - 4.0 7.6 8.6
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - 2.1 5.4 8.9
Department of the Treasury - - 1.3 2.5 3.9
Department of Health and Ageing - - 0.7 2.1 3.5
Medicare Australia - - .. .. 0.1
Total - - 13.6 32.4 46.8
Australian Taxation Office - - 1.9 3.9 6.2
Australian Customs Service - - .. .. 0.1
Total - - 1.9 3.9 6.3

The Government will increase the Special Humanitarian Program by an additional 750 places from 2009‑10 onwards at an estimated cost of $85.1 million over four years. Offshore assistance is expected to continue to focus on the priority regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This increase will take the total Humanitarian migration program to a planning level of 13,750 places per year from 2009‑10 onwards.

This measure includes funding for services under the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy, English language tuition, translating and interpreting services, income support costs, the expected usage of health, education and employment services by the additional permanent residents, and pre‑departure medical screening and other related pre‑arrival costs.

The costs of these services will be partially offset by an increase in Australian Government revenue of $12.1 million over four years. This includes GST of $7.7 million over four years. As the Australian Government administers the GST on behalf of the States and Territories and all GST revenue is paid to the States and Territories, this measure includes an expense to report the transfer of GST revenue collected by the Australian Government to the States and Territories.

This measure includes funding of $1.5 million over four years for staffing and administrative expenses for Centrelink.

Immigration health screening process — strengthening

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $34.1 million over four years (including capital funding of $7.2 million over two years) to strengthen and improve the administration of health requirements for visa applicants under the Migration Act 1958.

These changes will lead to greater consistency and coordination of decision making and establish information sharing arrangements with the States and Territories. Health requirements for visa applicants will be restructured to better match the level of risk posed to public health.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Indonesian movement alert list system — continuation of funding

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.9 0.8 0.8 -

The Government will provide an additional $2.6 million over three years to further support and fund maintenance for Indonesia's movement alert list system until 30 June 2011. The development of the system is almost complete and implementation is expected to be finalised by mid 2008.

The project represents a partnership between the Indonesian and Australian immigration agencies that will strengthen Indonesia's capacity to protect its borders by rebuilding Indonesia's movement alert list system at five major ports and the immigration headquarters in Jakarta.

Medical examinations of visa applicants — increased scrutiny of overseas providers

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 2.7 2.7 2.8 2.9

The Government will provide $11.1 million over four years to improve the integrity of mandatory medical examinations of visa applicants. Qualified Medical Officers employed by the Commonwealth will provide more scrutiny through visits to, and checks of, overseas doctors who provide these examinations. Enhancing the integrity of medical examinations will help to reduce the health risks posed by visa applicants, particularly from tuberculosis, and reduce the potential downstream demand on public health services.

This measure will increase the scrutiny of approximately 3,400 overseas doctors who conduct about 460,000 medical examinations and chest x‑rays of visa applicants each year.

Migration Program — 37,500 place increase for 2008‑09

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of the Treasury - 94.6 195.3 303.6 419.7
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - 59.0 77.5 109.2 152.8
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 25.8 42.1 48.9 52.2
Department of Health and Ageing - 24.8 80.2 138.8 202.0
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 22.2 67.2 114.5 164.7
Medicare Australia - 0.3 0.9 1.5 2.1
Total - 226.7 463.2 716.5 993.6
Australian Taxation Office - 222.5 474.9 729.2 1,021.8
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 96.0 98.4 121.3 124.3
Australian Customs Service - 3.3 6.7 10.1 13.8
Total - 321.8 580.0 860.6 1,159.9

The Government will increase the 2008‑09 Migration Program by 37,500 places, comprising an additional 31,000 places in the skill stream and 6,500 places in the family stream at an estimated cost of $1,386.8 million over four years. The 2008‑09 Migration Program planning level will therefore be increased from 152,800 to 190,300 places. This increase is intended to help address skilled labour shortages and to help businesses expand, delivering benefits to the Australian economy.

The increase in the Migration Program will require the provision of health, education, employment and other services and benefits for the additional permanent migrants.

The costs of these services will be offset by an increase in Australian Government revenue of $2,922.3 million over four years, including GST of $1,013.2 million over four years. As the Australian Government administers the GST on behalf of the States and Territories and all GST revenue is paid to the States and Territories, this measure includes an expense to report the transfer of GST revenue collected by the Australian Government to the States and Territories.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $21.7 million over four years for staffing and administrative expenses.

Migration Program — additional 6,000 skill stream places for 2007‑08

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of the Treasury - 17.6 18.1 18.8 19.5
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - 8.0 3.3 12.1 10.7
Department of Health and Ageing - 7.4 8.3 8.7 9.1
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 3.8 7.6 7.8 8.0
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 1.9 1.5 0.6 0.2
Medicare Australia - 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total - 38.7 38.9 48.1 47.6
Australian Taxation Office - 41.5 47.0 47.7 48.4
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 1.5 - - -
Australian Customs Service - 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Total - 43.6 47.6 48.3 49.0

The Government will increase the number of skill stream places by 6,000 in the 2007‑08 Migration Program, to accommodate the high demand by employers for skilled workers, at an estimated cost of $99.6 million over four years.

The increase in the Migration Program will require the provision of health, education, employment and other services and benefits for the additional permanent migrants.

The costs of these services will be offset by an increase in Commonwealth revenue of $188.5 million over four years. This includes $74.0 million in GST over four years. As the Commonwealth administers the GST on behalf of the States and Territories and all GST revenue is paid to the States and Territories, this measure includes an expense to account for the transfer of GST revenue collected by the Commonwealth to the States and Territories.

This measure includes funding of $2.0 million over four years for staffing and administrative expenses for Centrelink.

National Action Plan for social cohesion, harmony and security — continuation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $6.6 million over two years from 2010‑11, bringing total funding over four years to $14.2 million, to continue the national action plan for social cohesion, harmony and security. The funding will continue to be provided for projects with community organisations that help promote integration, wider community engagement and participation by Muslims in social, sport, arts and other cultural and civic activities. It will also provide continued support for ongoing dialogue with the Muslim community and fund further research into the causes of social disharmony within the Australian community.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Palmer and Comrie response — completing departmental reforms

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0

The Government will provide $50.0 million over four years to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to complete reforms to departmental operations in response to the core findings of the Palmer and Comrie reports.

These reforms include enhanced staff training programs; enhanced internal audit, quality assurance and risk management programs; immigration status resolution support programs; compliance quality assurance programs; and improved record management practices.

Funding for this measure will terminate on 30 June 2012 by which time changes to the department's operations should have transitioned from an implementation phase to a fully operational phase where business practices are compliant with core recommendations of the Palmer and Comrie reports.

Support for existing information technology systems

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 10.4 16.8 16.1 3.9 -

The Government will provide $47.2 million over four years to develop and maintain the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's core information technology systems. This funding will support a number of systems including electronic visas, Border Entry Systems and the Integrated Client System Environment used for onshore visa processing.

Temporary Protection visa — abolition

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations .. 3.9 2.8 3.0 3.7
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.5 0.2 0.3 0.3
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -2.4 -2.2 -2.5 -3.4
Total 0.0 2.0 0.8 0.7 0.6
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $4.2 million over five years to implement legislative and administrative arrangements by 1 October 2008 to abolish the Temporary Protection visa and the Temporary Humanitarian visa. This includes funding of $1.3 million over five years to Centrelink for delivering income support services, and $0.4 million in capital funding in 2008‑09 for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for changes to information technology systems to support the new visa arrangements.

Under current arrangements, unauthorised arrivals who are owed protection under Australia's humanitarian obligations are only eligible for a Temporary Protection visa and lawful entrants (that is, people arriving in Australia on a valid visa) who subsequently seek protection are generally eligible for a Permanent Protection visa.

Under the new arrangements all applicants who are found to be owed protection under Australia's Refugee Convention obligations will receive a Permanent Protection visa and will gain immediate access to the full range of Permanent Protection visa benefits and entitlements including English language tuition, income support and employment assistance. Existing and former holders of the Temporary Protection visa and Temporary Humanitarian Visa still in Australia will have access to a non‑protection permanent visa with the same benefits and entitlements of the Permanent Protection visa and without the need for a reassessment of protection obligations.

Temporary working visas — enhanced arrangements

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 5.1 5.0 4.9 4.3
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Total - 5.1 5.0 4.9 4.3
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $19.6 million over four years (including $0.4 million in capital funding in 2008‑09) to strengthen the integrity of temporary working visa arrangements, including the 457 visa program, by clarifying the obligations and rights of employers and workers, further protecting workers from exploitation.

The funding will support a comprehensive information strategy and the development and introduction of legislation to better define employers' obligations, improve investigative powers of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and develop a more robust sanctions framework to protect workers' rights.

This measure also includes the establishment of a departmental working group to develop a longer‑term reform package to improve the responsiveness and integrity of temporary working visa arrangements. The group will receive input from an expert in industrial relations, and representatives from state and territory governments, industry and unions.

United States of America — Australia Work and Holiday visas — expanded eligibility

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - .. 0.1 0.2 0.2
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.4 1.0 1.6 2.0

The Government will provide $0.5 million over four years for amendments to the current reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangement with the United States of America to allow visa applications from people who have completed secondary school to undertake temporary work. The current arrangement with the United States of America requires that applicants either be enrolled, be enrolled and deferred, or be a graduate of an accredited post‑secondary institution.

The cost of this measure will be offset by an increase in revenue of $5.0 million over four years arising from increased visa application charges.

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre — redevelopment — scoping and design

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $1.1 million in 2008‑09 for the Department of Finance and Deregulation to conduct scoping and feasibility studies, and preliminary design work, for the long term redevelopment of the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (VIDC).

The redevelopment would aim to upgrade and enhance the VIDC to meet current standards for design and fitout of immigration detention facilities.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

The Government has decided that the balance of funding previously provided for the VIDC redevelopment to the Department of Finance and Deregulation ($153.0 million) and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship ($17.3 million) will be returned to consolidated revenue. However a provision for this expenditure will be maintained in the Contingency Reserve pending second stage approval as part of the two stage capital works approval process.

Visa places for Iraqi locally engaged employees

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - 5.8 4.9 5.0 5.1
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 3.7 3.3 0.7 0.1
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 1.7 2.6 2.7 2.8
Department of the Treasury - 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.1
Department of Health and Ageing - 0.5 1.1 1.1 1.1
Medicare Australia - .. .. .. ..
Total - 12.6 12.9 10.5 10.2
Australian Taxation Office - 1.1 1.4 1.4 1.6
Australian Customs Service - .. .. .. ..
Total - 1.1 1.4 1.4 1.6

The Government will provide $42.2 million over four years to provide up to 600 additional permanent visa places to allow resettlement in Australia of specifically designated locally engaged Iraqi employees and their families, who are potentially at risk because of their involvement with the Australian Government in Iraq. These visa places will be in addition to the 13,500 Humanitarian migration program places in 2008‑09.

The measure includes funding for services under the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy, English language tuition, translating and interpreting services, income support costs, the expected usage of health, education and employment services by the additional permanent residents, and pre‑departure medical screening and other related pre‑arrival costs.

The costs of these services will be offset by an increase in Commonwealth revenue of $5.5 million over four years. This includes $4.0 million in GST over four years. As the Commonwealth administers the GST on behalf of the States and Territories and all GST revenue is paid to the States and Territories, this measure includes an expense to report the transfer of GST revenue collected by the Commonwealth to the States and Territories.

This measure includes funding of $0.9 million over four years for staffing and administrative expenses for Centrelink.

See also the related expense measures Department of Immigration and Citizenship — enhancements to liaison and operational capability in the Middle East and Humanitarian migration program — additional 500 places for Iraqis in 2008‑09, and, in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, Overseas development assistance — Iraq humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, Overseas development assistance — assistance to Iraqi Police Service, and Overseas development assistance — assistance for displaced Iraqis in the Middle East.

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