Work Visas Won’t Benefit Islanders: Immigration

Last Update: Tuesday, August 22, 2006. 2:13pm (AEST)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Work visas won't benefit islanders: Immigration

Australia's Immigration Department says a special scheme to bring South Pacific workers to Australia will not produce economic benefits for the islands.

The department has been giving evidence in Canberra to a parliamentary inquiry on whether Australia should allow in South Pacific islanders for seasonal work such as fruit picking.

The department's James Fox says islanders tend to over-stay visas more than people from some other countries.

But he says the main reason for opposing special entry for Pacific workers is doubt about the economic benefit.

“Our view on that is based on several factors, including the tax rates we would impose on the workers here, the relatively high costs associated with getting to Australia, and the relatively high costs of living here rather than necessarily the remittances that some would argue would flow back to their country,” Mr Fox said.