Immigration minister uses veto rarely
Australian Associated Press, June 4, 2010
Immigration Minister Chris Evans says he would very, very rarely use his new powers to veto skilled migration applications.
The Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee is considering a government bill that would give the minister the right to terminate future bids for residency.
Senator Evans could be granted extra powers if the committee agrees with the bill.
This could lead to a possible Senate vote in June.
But Senator Evans insisted he would exercise his power judiciously.
'This is a power that we would use very, very rarely if we need to manage the program in that way,' the minister told ABC Radio.
The government wants the power to terminate future applications made when the independent body, Skills Australia, updates its skilled occupation list.
Senator Evans said the government needed to be able to select people based on skills needs rather than rely on applicants who thought they could study in Australia and buy a place in the migration program.
'This is a bill that gives the minister the power to deal with situations where we're getting too many people in one occupation distorting the program,' he said.
Asked about giving a future minister too much power, Senator Evans said it would be up to any successor to argue their case in public.
The Migration Amendment (Visa Capping) Bill 2010 passed the lower house in May.
From July, the number of occupations under the skilled migration program will be slashed from 400 down to 181.
Occupations removed from the list include cooks, hairdressers, acupuncturists, piano tuners, journalists and naturopaths.