Australia to restrict migrants outside Sydney, Melbourne

13 October, 2018, 14:40 | Author: Myra Gill
  • David Coleman

The policy would aim to ease congestion and pressure on infrastructure in Australia's two biggest cities while boosting regional areas, the BBC quoted Population Minister Alan Tudge as saying on Tuesday.

Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce.

However, some experts have questioned whether the idea is enforceable and likely to achieve its goals.

Australia is drawing up plans to require migrants to temporarily settle in regional and rural areas to ease congestion in major cities, the government announced on Tuesday (Oct 9).

Australia has the fastest population growth of any advanced Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country other than Canada, growing 1.6 percent a year. "If we had a better distribution of the growth, we wouldn't have quite the same pressure that we have on Melbourne and Sydney and south-east Queensland".

The proposal is not detailed at this stage, but such visas could carry a "geographical requirement. for at least a few years". This leads to problems of overcrowding and overloaded infrastructure.

"Net overseas migration accounts for 60 per cent of our overall population growth and around 75 per cent of the growth of the big two cities".


Also migrants will offer certain incentives, said Mr. Taj, with the hope that they will stay in less populated areas of the country.These visa restrictions will not apply to migrants who arrive under family reunification or visas that are issued at the request of employers.

Under the current system only 5,000 of Australia's annual intake of 190,000 migrants are diverted to regional areas, while the new reform could force almost half of the migration stream to settle in smaller states.

The Labour opposition said the idea could be considered, but raised concerns about its lack of detail.

While governments from the United States to the UK to Europe have clamped down on immigration, Australia has taken the opposite route: its permanent migration program welcomed nearly 184,000 new arrivals in fiscal 2017.

Melbourne's rapid population growth is spurring the Victorian and federal Liberals to call for people to move to the regions, but Premier Daniel Andrews is not on board.

"Most of them have really liked living there in the bush, and said they had a warm welcome", he said.

Melissa Montero, an immigrant advocate and chief executive of the Sydney-based community migrant resource centre, said immigrants need social support, language services as well as jobs to successfully resettle.

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