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The Migration Alliance has received a concerning report from a Registered Migration Agent in Western Australia about apparent actions by the Western Australian government in relation to the Regional Sponsored Migration scheme.
We are informed by our colleague in WA that the new premier of WA, Mark McGowan, had stated during the recent election campaign that he would seek to have Perth “removed” from the scheme.
And indeed, a news article in the West Australian reports that Premier McGowan asked Prime Minister Turnbull to remove Perth from the RSMS scheme within hours of his election victory on Saturday 11 March 2017. The West Australian says that the purpose of this request was “to make it easier for locals to find work”.
Our colleague in Western Australia advises us that two days after the election, on Monday, 13 March 2017, the Department of Training and Workforce Development in WA took a decision to “freeze in time” the entire RSMS process in the whole of Western Australia.
It does not appear that there was any “government in control” in Western Australia at the time this action was taken by the Department of Training and Workforce Development. It would appear that the government that was in power before the election would have been in “caretaker” mode through the election period and until the new McGowan Government was installed, and further, that the McGowan Government was not sworn into office until after this decision was taken by the Department of Training and Workforce Development.
Consequently, it appears that the decision of the Department of Training and Workforce Development may have been made without any lawful authority.
We are advised by our WA colleague that the decision was made without any formal warning or communication.
This decision has obvious potential to cause very serious prejudice and hardship to applicants and employers who had applications already lodged and being processed when this apparent “freeze” was apparently imposed.
There is also a significant question as to whether a state or Territory has legal authority to impose such a freeze “unilaterally” and without the consent and approval of the Federal government.
We invite Registered Migration Agents in Western Australia or elsewhere who have knowledge of this development to provide comment on this situation and information on how this action is affecting their clients.