Canberra: The Australian government will slash the nation’s permanent migrant intake from 190,000 to 160,000 in the lead-up to May’s general election, authorities said on Tuesday. 

Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia said the government will place an official cap on the figure at that level, reports Xinhua news agency. 

The announcement will be made as part of the Federal Budget, which will be released by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on April 2, and comes months after Morrison first signalled the move in November 2018. 

The budget is widely considered the government’s major opportunity to make up ground on the opposition Australian Labor Party. 

Australia allowed 162,417 permanent migrants in financial year 2017-18. 

The government will also announce measures to encourage new migrants to Australia to work in regional areas to ease the burden of rapid population growth on Sydney and Melbourne.

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