Migrants to Australia to wait 4 years for unemployment benefits

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 09:36:12|Editor: Yang Yi
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CANBERRA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Migrants to Australia face a four-year wait before they can access welfare payments under new laws backed by both major political parties.

The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) on Thursday night joined forces with the governing Liberal National Party Coalition (LNP) to support the reforms in the lower house of Australian parliament, the House of Representatives.

Under the changes, which are now before the Senate, new migrants will not be able to access the Newstart Allowance, the main income support payment for unemployed Australians, until four years after their arrival in the country.

However, in order to achieve Labor's support the LNP made concessions to the bill, including making all family tax benefits available after one year and making parental leave available after two years.

The changes will be applied to all migrants arriving in Australia from January 2019 except for those from New Zealand (NZ) or those arriving on an orphan or remaining relative visa.

Labor was initially praised for negotiating the concessions with the LNP but it has since been reported that, without the ALP's support, the proposal would have been defeated in the Senate.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) has condemned the ALP for supporting the new measures.

"Migrants make huge contributions to our society," it said in a statement.

"We should be supporting them when they need it, not making it harder for them to build a life in Australia."

"There is no justification for cutting off support for people, including children, who are in financial need."