Story image for AFR Abul Rizvi warns against privatising visa system from The Australian Financial Review

Don’t privatise Australia’s visa system

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

October 8, 2019 | 7 comments

Yesterday, we reported how migration groups have attacked the Morrison Government’s plan to privatise Australia’s visa processing system, claiming that will create “major systemic risks” and is a “disaster in the making”.

Today, former Department of Immigration deputy secretary, Abul Rizvi, has again warned that privatising Australia’s visa system opens Australia’s to “immense risks” and is contrary to the public interest. From The AFR:

A former senior Immigration Department executive has warned of “immense” risks from outsourcing of visa processing…

“The Prime Minister and the minister for immigration must be open with the Australian public on the business case, risk management plan and key performance indicators for privatisation before signing any contracts”, Mr Rizvi said…

“The contract must also expressly prohibit introduction of a premium service channel; sale or use of data for any commercial purposes; and use of the IT platform to direct users to other commercial service providers”…

“If the privatisation proceeds, the contract must include a pathway and mechanism for the government to re-acquire the IT platform at reasonable cost, if the privatisation fails…

As noted yesterday, the United Kingdom privatised its visa processing in 2014 and has since been embroiled in numerous scandals, including widespread exploitation, ripping-off applicants, and making the visa system ‘pay-to-win’.

The fact of the matter is that Australia’s immigration numbers cannot realistically be controlled when a profit motive is added that effectively turns the visa system into a quantity-based business. We have seen what happens with the education industry and international students, with universities destroying entry and teaching standards in order to pump through as many full-fee paying students as possible.

Blind Freddy can see that privatising Australia’s visa system carries immense risks. The monopoly provider will inevitably raise costs to pad their profits, the visa system will be turned into ‘pay-to-win’, and Australia’s borders will become even more porous.

The Morrison Government must abort from this crazy plan.