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Call to double migration intake

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Lisa Martin

Doubling Australia's migration intake to 400,000 by the 2050s could dramatically drive economic growth.

A new report on migration from the Committee for Economic Develop of Australia released on Thursday makes the economic case that there's scope for a greater migrant intake.

But authorities needed to ensure gaps in infrastructure, urban congestion and environmental impacts are adequately addressed to cope with new arrivals.

The report points to modelling that estimates a 24.5 per cent boost to consumer spending by the 2050 if the migrant program expands.

Higher migration scenarios would deliver a 5.9 per cent increase in gross domestic product per capita.

"Migration has made a substantial contribution to Australia's economic performance," CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin told AAP.

He said the debate on migration should not be sidetracked by red-herring issues and sentiments of xenophobia towards refugees and asylum seekers.

Australia's permanent migration program has 190,000 places, including 128,550 for skilled workers and 57,400 for family reunions.

Mr Martin said the points scheme needed to be tweaked so migrants had more incentive to settle in regional areas.

This would help reduce city congestion.

The report recommends tightening entry requirements around age, skills and English-language proficiency.

It also calls for tougher penalties for exploiting migrant workers.

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