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Anthony Albanese loosens visa rules for south-east Asian immigrants and gives away $140 million

Anthony Albanese Ibrahim Anwar

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made it easier than ever for south-east Asian immigrants to stay in Australia longer, despite a housing crisis caused by record-high migration levels.

On Tuesday Mr Albanese announced a “business engagement” package which included $140 million to support infrastructure development in south-east Asia, and loosening of visa rules.

Business travellers from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries – Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei – will have their visitor visa extended from three to five years, the Prime Minister said.

Australia’s ten-year Frequent Traveller stream will be also extended to eligible ASEAN Member States and Timor-Leste.

“I am proud to lead a Government that is strengthening our trade and investment ties with Southeast Asia, directly contributing to our shared economic prosperity,” Mr Albanese said on Tuesday.

“These initiatives represent further investments in our future and ensure we are working with Southeast Asia as it continues to grow in economic size and reach.

“When our region prospers, Australia prospers.”

The $140million spend comes as Australia battles a cost of living crisis, rising rents and unaffordable housing, all fuelled by mass immigration.

Australia brought in 737,000 immigrants in the last financial year, and increase of 73% and a net gain of 518,000 people, the largest since records began.

Last year Mr Albanese made a similar pact with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, relaxing visa rules in a deal described as “open borders into Australia“.

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