Fairfax MP Clive Palmer.
Fairfax MP Clive Palmer. DAN PELED

PUP and LNP negotiate new migrant visa

A NEW visa for asylum seekers could prove a boon to regional areas suffering from labour shortages.

The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa negotiated between the Palmer United Party and Abbott government would allow the visa holder to be based in a regional area for five years.

PUP leader Clive Palmer said people would be "earning or learning".

The visa would be valid for five years.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the government would not nominate regional areas, instead regional areas would choose to participate.

"These visa holders will be targeted to regions and encouraged to fill regional vacancies," Mr Palmer said.

"Following full employment and positive community involvement for a period of three-and-a-half years, the visa holder can apply for an onshore visa."

Mr Palmer said SHEV visa holders would be eligible for all services - from work rights to Medicare, and translation services to access to education for their school-age children.

He said the negotiations had resulted in keeping 1500 people, including 436 children and 32 unaccompanied minors, in Australia, rather than transferring to Nauru or Manus Island from Christmas Island and mainland Australia.

"It's a win for refugees who now have a safe haven visa and can protect themselves and work towards establishing themselves in an Australian community," Mr Palmer said.

"And it's a win for regional Australia, which will benefit from the additional work resources in communities where there is a labour shortage."

Mr Palmer said he had recently spoken with a mayor struggling to get workers for an unskilled job at a radiology business.

He said it would also help resolve the Federal Government's unresolved asylum seeker caseload of 30,000 people.

Mr Morrison will tomorrow sign a resettlement agreement with Cambodia in Phnom Penh today.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has criticised the deal, saying the Cambodian government did not have the capacity to care for asylum seekers.

"As one of the poorest nations in the world, Cambodia struggles to care for its own citizens, let alone the refugees that Australia wants to dump there," she said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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