The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) said today that key measures announced in tonight’s Federal Budget will have a disproportionate impact on Australia’s migrant communities.
New enhanced residency requirements for the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension will require claimants to have up to 15 years of continuous Australian residence to be eligible to receive these key supports.

Nearly 40 per cent of people receiving the Age Pension were not born in Australia. These provisions will disproportionately impact Australians of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

FECCA believes that migrant Australians should not be punished in their older age or because they require support for living with a disability.

Also announced in tonight’s Budget, the Skilling Australians Fund Levy, is a levy on employers who nominate workers for certain temporary and permanent visas. The levy will provide funds to support skills development in the Australian workforce.

This kind of measure implies that migrant workers are responsible for Australia’s skills gap and threatens social cohesion.

Migrant workers are some of Australia’s most vulnerable to the risk of abuse and exploitation by their employers.

This levy presents new risks to migrant workers including salary deductions and a rise in racism and discrimination.

Overseas workers fill key positions where local employees cannot be recruited: caring for Australia’s elderly and disabled, supporting our nation’s agricultural industry and growing Australia’s IT and high-tech companies.

FECCA has already expressed its concern on a number of other measures included in the Budget including changes to the citizenship test and the cost of the new temporary parent visa.

FECCA will issue further comment on the Federal Budget in coming days.

FECCA is the peak national body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.

FECCA’s pre-Budget submission can be found here.

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