Australian Government, 2009‑10 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures

Immigration and Citizenship

Border protection — combating people smuggling — engagement with Indonesia

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 9.3 5.0 - -

The Government will provide $14.3 million over two years to enhance whole‑of‑government capabilities in responding to increasing irregular migration flows in Indonesia. The measure will provide increased funding for the Regional Cooperation Arrangements in Indonesia, whereby the Department of Immigration and Citizenship funds the International Organisation for Migration to provide care and support (including housing, food and medical assistance) to unauthorised arrivals intercepted in Indonesia.

In addition, the measure will provide additional funding to the International Organisation for Migration to support the Indonesian Government in managing immigration detention facilities in Tanjung Pinang and Jakarta, and establishing temporary transit facilities.

The measure will also support Indonesia's Directorate‑General of Immigration officials to develop identity management capabilities and systems, especially facial recognition capabilities.

Funding for activities under this measure forms part of Australia's overseas development assistance program.

This measure also forms part of the Australian Government's layered response to the resurgent maritime people smuggling threat. The focus is on preventive overseas interventions through strengthened operational, diplomatic and regional capacity‑building efforts — balanced by appropriate on‑water and aerial surveillance responses.

Border protection — combating people smuggling — initiative to address irregular population flows

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 8.2 8.1 - -
Australian Taxation Office - -0.1 -0.1 - -

The Government will provide $16.4 million over two years (including $0.1 million in revenue forgone) to enhance whole‑of‑government capabilities to respond to increasing irregular migration through the Asian region.

This measure will support the development of a regional framework for the management and resolution of the status of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration. Funding is provided for a secondee to the UNHCR, contributing to Australia's overseas development assistance.

This measure will provide funding for the UNHCR to undertake regional advocacy to encourage countries to become signatories to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951). Additional funding will also be provided to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to build capacity in Pakistan and Afghanistan to disrupt people smuggling operations and prosecute perpetrators.

This measure will enable increased evidence‑based research capacity to monitor and analyse irregular migration information, and the deployment of officers to Jakarta, Hanoi, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai to enhance liaison and operational capabilities to assist in preventing illegal immigration to Australia.

The measure is expected to lead to a reduction in revenue of $0.1 million over two years as a result of the tax treatment of income and benefits received by personnel posted overseas.

This measure forms part of the Australian Government's layered response to resurgent maritime people smuggling activity. The focus is on preventative overseas interventions through strengthened operational, diplomatic and regional capacity‑building efforts − balanced by appropriate on‑water and aerial surveillance responses.

Border Protection — combating people smuggling — package to mitigate threats, gaps and vulnerabilities — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $8.9 million over four years to continue the lapsing measure People smuggling — package to mitigate threats, gaps and vulnerabilities announced in the 2005‑06 Budget. The measure will maintain the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's ability to respond to people smuggling developments. It provides for improved intelligence and compliance support, including additional Border Intelligence officers at Australia's international air and seaports, and increased offshore compliance officers and airline liaison officers.

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

Child Migrants Trust — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $0.6 million over four years from 2008‑09 to continue funding to the Child Migrants Trust. The Trust provides family tracing and counselling services to former child migrants from the United Kingdom and Malta who arrived in Australia post World War II. The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Citizenship Support Grants Program — cessation of funding

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -3.8 -3.9 -4.0 -4.1

The Government will not proceed with funding for the Citizenship Support Grants Program which was introduced as part of the measure Citizenship Test — initiatives to support implementation announced in the Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2007‑08.

The Citizenship Support Grants Program was implemented in 2008‑09 as a pilot discretionary grant program, to provide support for clients who would have difficulty undertaking the Citizenship Test. The program overlaps with services provided through other programs and will not be continued. Ongoing support for people wishing to pursue Australian citizenship is available through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, including through the resource book Becoming an Australian Citizen and the Adult Migrant English Program.

This measure will provide savings of $15.8 million over four years.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship — efficiency improvements

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -23.5 -28.8 -34.0 -34.3

The Government will improve the administration and efficiency of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's national office and service delivery network.

Efficiencies will be achieved through: removing overlap and duplication in service provision; reducing expenditure on consultants (other than IT consultants); improving contract pricing and administration of services; and expanding the use of electronic lodgement of health reports and documentation (eHealth).

This measure will provide savings of $120.6 million over four years.

Humanitarian Migration Program — non‑refoulement obligations

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $4.8 million (including capital of $0.2 million for information technology changes) over four years to implement a system of complementary protection for people to whom Australia has non‑refoulement (non‑return) obligations under international human rights treaties, other than the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Currently, individuals who cannot be granted refugee status, but also cannot return home as their lives could be threatened (or they would be at risk of torture), can only be granted a visa through ministerial intervention powers, which are non‑compellable and non‑reviewable.

This measure establishes a visa pathway, through the Protection Visa process, for non‑refoulement applicants, improving the transparency of the application process and providing access to merits and judicial review.

This measure will align Australia's asylum procedures with international practice and the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to consider all international protection issues in a single procedure.

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

Improving English language learning outcomes for newly arrived migrants

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Centrelink - 1.1 0.2 0.2 0.2
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - -3.9 -8.8 -9.2
Total - 1.1 -3.7 -8.7 -9.1

The Government will reform the design and delivery of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to enhance client outcomes and improve cost effectiveness.

The measure will support program reforms, including additional counselling support for all clients, and expanded services to include 15 to 17 year old new arrivals who drop out of school within their first year of arrival. Savings in this program will be achieved through improved pricing, administration and contractual arrangements for the delivery of services.

The AMEP is a national settlement program that provides English language tuition for eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants who do not have functional English.

This measure will provide net savings of $20.4 million over four years.

Migration Agents Registration Authority — operational reforms

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.8 .. -0.2 -0.2
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 4.0 - - -

The Government will provide $24.4 million over four years to establish a new body in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to regulate migration agents. From 1 July 2009, the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) function will be moved from the Migration Institute of Australia to the new Office of the MARA in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The MARA is a professional association of migration agents. Its functions include: the processing of applications for migration agent registration; administration of a scheme to professionally develop migration agents; and investigating complaints about possible breaches of the Migration Agents Code of Conduct.

The move will address key recommendations from the 2007‑08 Review of Statutory Self‑Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession. The cost of this measure will be partially offset from existing resources.

The Government will continue to collect migration agent registration fees to contribute to meeting MARA costs. MARA assets ($4.0 million in 2009‑10) will be transferred to consolidated revenue.

Further information can be found in the press release of 9 February 2009 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Migration Program — reduction in skill stream places for 2008‑09

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Medicare Australia - -0.2 -0.5 -0.8 -1.1
Centrelink -0.6 -0.6 -1.2 -1.3 -1.3
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - -3.7 -8.3 -20.0 -20.5
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -5.4 -4.6 -1.9 -0.7
Department of Health and Ageing - -17.5 -20.9 -21.9 -22.8
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs -10.9 -22.4 -23.0 -23.6 -24.2
Department of the Treasury - -37.9 -39.7 -41.3 -42.6
Total -11.5 -87.7 -98.2 -110.7 -113.1
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service - -3.4 -3.4 -3.4 -3.4
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -4.8 - - -
Australian Taxation Office - -109.5 -120.1 -128.2 -136.7
Total - -117.7 -123.5 -131.6 -140.1

The Government will reduce the number of skill stream places in the 2008‑09 Migration Program by 18,500 places (133,500 places down to 115,000 places). The reduction in the ceiling has been made as a result of changed economic conditions since the 2008‑09 Budget. The net impact of this measure will be to reduce the fiscal balance by $114.8 million over five years.

The decrease in the size of the Migration Program will lead to a reduction in expenditure on visa processing, health, education, employment and other services relative to previous estimates. This will be more than offset by a decrease in estimated revenue from visa application charges, GST and other tax revenue.

Further information can be found in the press release of 16 March 2009 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Migration Program — allocation of places for 2009‑10

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Medicare Australia - -0.3 -0.6 -0.9 -1.2
Centrelink - -0.3 -1.2 -3.1 -4.8
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - -4.0 -4.1 -36.4 -39.4
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -9.2 -10.9 -10.9 -11.2
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -14.4 -41.4 -69.8 -99.7
Department of Health and Ageing - -18.0 -43.4 -69.8 -97.8
Department of the Treasury - -44.5 -105.1 -170.7 -240.0
Total - -90.7 -206.7 -361.7 -494.1
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 19.3 19.8 27.1 27.7
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service - -4.3 -7.7 -12.0 -15.5
Australian Taxation Office - -138.0 -304.3 -487.8 -695.0
Total - -123.0 -292.2 -472.7 -682.8

The Government will provide up to 168,700 places in the 2009‑10 Migration Program. This is a decrease of 21,600 places from the previous planning level of 190,300 places, and a decrease of 3,100 places from the revised 2008‑09 planning level of 171,800 places. The 2009‑10 Migration Program will comprise 108,100 skill stream places, 60,300 family stream places and 300 special eligibility places.

For 2009‑10, skill stream places will be reduced by 25,400 places from previous planning levels to 108,100 places. The decrease reflects changed economic conditions. The impact will be to reduce expenditure on visa processing, health, education, employment and other services. These savings will be more than offset by lower revenue from visa application charges, GST and other taxes.

The family stream will be increased by 3,800 places from previous planning levels to 60,300 places. It is being increased in order to meet higher demand for places, particularly spouse and child places. The impact will be to increase expenditure on health, education, employment and other services for family stream applicants. This cost will be partially offset by increased revenue, including from significant visa application charges that apply to the contributory parent visa.

The net impact on the fiscal balance will be a decrease of $417.7 million over four years.

The Government has also begun to develop a longer term planning framework for migration, based on a long‑term average net overseas migration range of between 150,000 and 230,000 people per year. The 2009‑10 Migration Program is expected to contribute to net overseas migration in the order of 180,000 people per year.

See also the related expense measure Migration Program — reduction in skill stream places for 2008‑09 in the Immigration and Citizenship portfolio.

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Limited — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government has provided $0.6 million in 2008‑09 to the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Limited as a one‑off contribution to ensure its continued solvency. The Authority is an independent company, jointly owned by the Australian and State and Territory governments, and is the only accreditation authority for interpreters and translators in Australia.

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

New directions in immigration detention

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $77.4 million over four years from 2009‑10 for ongoing implementation of the new immigration detention values. The measure will support the use of a risk‑based detention policy, focusing on the more timely resolution of the status of people of immigration concern. The measure increases the use of early intervention mechanisms and provides for more active caseload management to obtain prompt immigration outcomes, whether they be returning a person to their home country or granting a visa.

This measure will include a national Assisted Voluntary Return Service and a Community Status Resolution Service, to actively manage clients to resolve their immigration status. It will build on the measure Case management and community care pilot — continuation announced in the 2008‑09 Budget.

In accordance with the Government's new immigration detention values, mandatory detention continues to be an integral part of the Government's immigration policy, being an essential component of strong border control. All unauthorised arrivals, unlawful non‑citizens who present unacceptable risks to the community and unlawful non‑citizens who have repeatedly refused to comply with their visa conditions are subject to mandatory detention.

Further information can be found in the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship's speech of 29 July 2008.

The cost of this measure will be fully offset by savings from the restructuring of existing immigration detention operations and more effective contract management.

Protection Visas — abolition of the 45 Day Rule

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Health and Ageing - 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.4
Medicare Australia - .. .. .. ..
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -
Total - 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.4

The Government will provide $5.4 million over four years to abolish the 45 Day Rule. The rule denies work rights and Medicare access to Protection Visa applicants who do not lodge an application for a protection visa within 45 days of arrival in Australia. This measure includes funding of $5.2 million over four years to the Department of Health and Ageing and $0.1 million over four years to Medicare Australia.

Under the new arrangements, Protection Visa applicants who hold a substantive visa at the time of lodging an application will be permitted to work and access Medicare. Applicants who do not hold a substantive visa will be permitted to work and access Medicare provided they engage with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and can demonstrate there is an acceptable reason for the delay in applying for protection. This measure will prevent asylum seekers within Australia from experiencing unnecessary hardship while their applications are being processed.

The administrative costs to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship of implementing this measure will be fully offset by savings of $0.1 million over four years from the department's national and state offices.

Providing for Australia's security — regional counter‑terrorism assistance — continuation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $12.6 million over four years from 2009‑10 to continue to assist Asia‑Pacific countries to strengthen their capacity to curb terrorist and other irregular trans‑border movements, through the provision of training and technical advice in document fraud detection and immigration intelligence. This program will continue until 30 June 2013.

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

Retirement Visa (Subclass 410) enhancements

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $0.1 million in 2009‑10 to extend the Retirement Visa (Subclass 410) validity period from four to 10 years, and to remove the current statutory limit on work rights for holders. Currently, Retirement Visas (Subclass 410) are valid for four years and do not allow holders to work more than 20 hours per week.

The measure will provide applicants with more certainty regarding their length of stay in Australia, and allow paid and volunteer work to be undertaken. Around 8,700 visa holders will be affected by these changes. The Retirement Visa (Subclass 410) closed to new primary applicants from July 2005.

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

Sale of underutilised land

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $0.4 million in 2009‑10 for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to manage the sale of underutilised land owned by the department. The cost will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The department has identified two sites of land that are surplus to current requirements: Sugarmill Road, Meeandah, Queensland; and Maygar Barracks, Broadmeadows, Victoria.

The department will undertake Vendor Due Diligence to prepare the sites for sale.

Systems for People — operational costs

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 32.9 - - -
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 1.9 - - -

The Government will provide $34.8 million in 2009‑10 (including capital of $1.9 million) to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to support and maintain the Systems for People information technology program.

The program was initiated in 2006 to address limitations in the department's information systems identified by the Palmer and Comrie reports. The program aims to develop the department's information technology systems to improve client service, with particular emphasis on support for decision making and better records management.

The Government will consider funding beyond 2009‑10 in the 2010‑11 Budget, taking account of the outcomes of the implementation of the Gershon Review.

Temporary Business (Long Stay) Visa (Subclass 457) reform — implementation

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Office of the Workplace Ombudsman - - - - -
Total - - - - -

The Government will provide $8.4 million over five years (including $0.2 million in 2008‑09) to continue initiatives to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of the Business (Long Stay) Visa (Subclass 457) program.

This measure will implement market‑based salary levels; raise English language requirements for applicants in certain occupations; introduce formal skills assessment for high‑risk applicants; and develop and implement training benchmarks to clarify the existing requirements for employers. The reforms will help to prevent exploitation of temporary overseas workers.

This measure continues the implementation of the measure Temporary working visas — enhanced arrangements announced in the 2008‑09 Budget.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Further information can be found in the press release of 1 April 2009 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Visa places for Iraqi locally engaged employees — extension of funding

Expense ($m)
2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will extend the funding for the measure Visa places for Iraqi locally engaged employees announced in the 2008‑09 Budget for a further 12 months. To date some 500 visas have been granted from a total of 600 places. The extension will ensure that the remaining eligible applicants will be appropriately assessed and considered.

This measure aims to protect the former locally engaged employees from Iraq who are potentially at risk as a consequence of their employment by the Australian Government.

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

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