26 Oct 2008

Australia considers immigration intake

5:59 pm on 26 October 2008

Australia's government says it won't be rushing to cut the country's migrant intake despite predictions unemployment will rise faster than expected.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the government would consider calls for a reduction in immigration to cope with slowing economic growth when it received the mid-year economic data.

He said Australia already was seeing increased interest in migration to Australia from countries like Britain which were experiencing economic downturn.

Opposition immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone has urged the government to slash Australia's immigration intake by one quarter to help the nation cope with the increased unemployment likely to result from a slowing economy.

She said plans for a record 190,300 migrants in 2008-09 should be reduced to the 2005-06 level of 142,930.

Mr Evans said the government also would consult with industry before deciding whether or not to alter this year's migration program.