I’m not sure if I should equate the 1 July 2011 rise in DIAC’s Visa Application Charges (VACs) to (a) that famous Paul Hogan quote from Crocodile Dundee when he said, “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife.” as Mick Dundee pulls out a huge bowie knife to frighten a couple of muggers with a less impressive blade or (b) perhaps to the pricing policies of Australian Utility companies.
I’m thinking that the latter comparison is more appropriate as in the knife demonstration the muggers only got scared off – it was a no foul. For visa applicants and utility consumers alike demand is highly inelastic – we get to pay no matter what the price or price rise if we want to play.
For General Skilled Migration (GSM), Partner (onshore & offshore), Child. Parent, Other Family, Employer Nomination (ENS), Business Skills and Temporary Business (sponsors & visa applicants) the price hike is a massive 15% (Working Holiday applicants get to pay 17% more!).
Is this shameless exploitation of a vulnerable sector?
Well when your price rise is 4.5 times the highest annualised rate of inflation measured by quarters since March 2009 at 3.33% and the only comparable rise in prices recently have been Fruit at 14.5% and Vegetables at 16% you’ve got to think so.
You now get to pay $2960 (was $2575) to lodge your onshore application for residence and $1995 (was $1735) for an offshore migration application.
Our Treasurer is fond of pointing to recent natural disasters to explain almost every challenging negative statistic of late perhaps Immigration Minister Bowen can play this card to explain how he and DIAC arrived at this number.
If it was just a case of “well if people want to come here let them pay for the privilege” this form of fund raising could slip under the radar like all our recent asylum seeker boat arrivals but every Child migrant has an Australian parent, every Partner and Australian significant other and every Parent at least one Australian child.
Minister Bowen’s massive price rise is a kick in the guts for all these Australians. Perhaps they’ll all have forgotten by the next election?
As an afterthought for those of you with an interest in numbers – the increase in fees (just the extra $385 onshore and $260 offshore) will raise about $60,000,000 for the Federal government. (185000 in the 2012/12 program x average fee increase). Ball park figures I’m not pretending to be the Treasury. Nice little earner though.