Our immigration policy is intended to be implemented at the same time as our plans to build new cities, improve transport infrastructure and improve housing affordability. We intend to maintain immigration at a level that sustains current proportions of working-age and retired Australians, and maintain the current proportions of skilled, humanitarian, family reunion and other visas.
The Science Party's population policy is unique: unlike other parties, we have a responsible plan to accommodate Australia's projected population growth. Australia is projected to have a population between 38 million and 50 million people by 2066, with many more Australians over the age of 65.
Australia has substantial resources to accommodate additional migrants. In addition to being the least densely populated country on Earth, Australia exports $44.8 billion of its $58.1 billion (77%) of its agricultural output, including 65% of our wheat (source, pp38–39).
1. Net migration intake
1.1: The Science Party is in favour of migration and recognises the historic and ongoing social and economic contributions of migrants to Australia. We value the diversity in culture and skills that immigration brings to make our country a better place for all. Net migration should be responsive to Australia's changing conditions; we will consider increasing immigration to cover future skills shortfalls.
2. Asylum seekers
2.1: Close all Australian offshore immigration detention centres.
Under the 20/20 vision, the Science Party will increase Australia's humanitarian intake in proportion to other migration schemes. In the short term the additional places created should be offered to recognised refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia to reduce the demand for smuggling, as per the recommendations of the Houston Report. The Science Party has not yet resolved on further policy in this area; a number of options are under discussion. You can see ideas considered so far in our "Speculate" section.
3. Special migration zone
3.1: Our charter city, Turing, will act as a special migration zone. For more information, see our charter city policy.
4. Visa conditions
4.1: A new class of sponsored compassionate visa with limited access to public services.
Family reunion and other visas have requirements that people not have serious health conditions or otherwise be likely to increase the burden on the social safety net. The Science Party would introduce a new category of visa open to people rejected on such grounds but otherwise eligible to live in Australia. The visa would grant the right to residency but with an ongoing sponsorship requirement from the visa holder's family, to cover all direct costs incurred by access to public services such as Medicare etc.
5. New Zealand migrants
5.1: New Zealanders living in Australia under Special Category Visa automatically receive a Permanent Residency Visa after living in Australia for two years.
Currently New Zealand citizens who migrated to Australia after 2001 under the reciprocal arrangements we have with New Zealand are treated equivalently to permanent residents for some purposes (such as tax law) but not others. For instance they will be required to pay the DisabilityCare levy, but will not be eligible to receive DisabilityCare services. In general they are far less well off than Australian citizens residing in New Zealand.
Automatically granting these residents a Permanent Residency Visa after two years will give rights in line with the reciprocal rights received by Australian citizens in New Zealand.