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Author Topic: HOW MUCH IS THAT REFUGEE IN THE WINDOW  (Read 195 times)
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« on: November 14, 2009, 02:19:49 pm »
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Refugees are creating a soaring welfare headache for taxpayers with the total annual cost of Centrelink benefits up nearly 40 per cent to an estimated $628 million in just two years.

Figures obtained from Centrelink following a Freedom of Information request show there were 52,469 refugees on the various categories of refugee visas in reciept of the aged pension, Disability Support Pension, Austudy, Newstart or the Youth Allowance as at June 30, 2009.

Calculations based on these numbers put the total annual bill at $628 million, including $21.6 million in Baby Bonus payments.

Two years earlier, the number of refugees on Centrelink benefits stood at 40,151 with an total estimated bill then of $451 million.

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce said he believed Australia was entitled to wonder whether at least some refugees were actually "economic migrants" wanting a more comfortable life and claimed the Rudd Government's refugee policy was leading to more boat people arriving on our shores.

"The policy that was in place before was the policy that worked ‚?? what you have now is a policy that is flawed," he said.

Refugee advocacy groups last night conceded there were signficant upfront costs associated with accepting refugees but there was a net benefit over time as they established themselves in their new homeland.

A big driver in the increase was the abolition in August 2008 of controversial Temporary Protection Visas by the Rudd Government, which were issued without access to Centrelink benefits.

The policy switch led to about 1000 of these former asylum seeks moving to Resolution of Status Visas immediately and accessing full welfare entitlements.

The figures on the mounting Centrelink bill to taxpayers, revealed by a Nine News investigation, comes as three new vessels carrying asylum seekers were thought to be sailing to Australia, prompting furious talks between Canberra and the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 02:22:25 pm »
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Since September last year, 39 boats carrying asylum seekers have been intercepted taking a perilious journey to Australia.

However, just a portion of the 13,507 refugee visas granted in 2008-09 were granted to boat people ‚?? most refugees come through Australia's offshore humanitarian program.

Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power said there were difficulties for refugees finding work in Australia, at least in the short term, resulting in many needing assistance to survive.

While many were actually qualified for jobs, they had difficulties getting Australian employers to recognise their foriegn university study or their work experience.

"There needs to be an understanding that there are costs with refugee and humanitarian programs as people get resettled,'' he said.

"They also need employers ready to give them a go."

He added that studies had shown that refugees tend to have repaid all their costs within 17 years and cited several of the wealthiest businessmen in Australia, including Frank Lowy and Harry Triguboff, who were once refugees.

The relevant visa categories are Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB), Resolution of Status and Permanent Protection Visas.

There were 13,507 refugee visas granted in 2008-09 under the three main categories.

Since 1990, about 190,000 refugee visas have been granted.

An Immigration Department spokesman said that just 3 per cent of those in reciept of a Newstart Allowance as at June 30, 2009 were refugees, while only about 3.5 per cent of Youth Allowance payment were refugees.

There were 52,469 refugee visa holders on Centrelink benefits as at June 30, 2009:

21,422 were on Newstart
13,582 were on the Youth Allowance
9881 were on the Disability Support Pension
5488 were on the aged pension
2096 were on Austudy
There were also 4324 Baby Bonus payments

There were 40,151 refugee visa holders on Centrelink benefits as at June 30, 2007:

15,750 were on Newstart
11,142 were on Youth Allowance
7350 were on Disability Support Pension
4410 were on Aged Pension
1499 were on Austudy
There were also 2796 Baby Bonus payments

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/877598/refugee s-spark-huge-jump-in-welfare-bill
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