30 May 2018

Calls for more skilled visas for regional Australia

In response to current debate to cut Australia’s migration levels, think tank The Regional Australian Institute is calling for the Government to redistribute skilled migration to regional areas and smaller cities in need of a population boost. The Regional Australian Institute presented a policy paper this month urging the Government for a strategy to assist country areas facing labour shortage and population decline issues.

Here’s what the Regional Australian Institute recommended in their report:

– An additional 2000 to 3000 migrants to country towns annually

-New strategies to be led by the Government to identify labour shortages in rural areas and establish these areas as ‘priority settlement areas’

-Strategies to ensure rural communities are supported with accommodation infrastructure and community based initiatives to manage cultural integration

-More incentives to encourage migrants to live regionally, including reduced set-up costs and increased opportunities for family migration

The report has received support from the Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader, Michael McCormack and the Coalition. Mr McCormack stated, “Migrants bring a willingness to work. They also bring a dedication to their employer. They often start small businesses and they really contribute mightily, not just to regional capitals such as Wagga Wagga, but indeed to the smaller towns around it, and that’s what I know this report is all about,” Mr McCormack said.

He added, “[The report] makes sure that we connect those migrants, those hardworking people, to jobs, not just in the regional capitals but indeed in smaller towns, because we need to make sure that they continue to grow. I’m not talking about the regional capitals, I’m talking about those little periphery towns on the outer edges. When they’re strong, so too are the regional capitals, so too is our nation.”

The Government confirmed it would consider establishing incentives for migrants to live regionally, however no decisions have been made. Migrant support group, Welcome to Australia is concerned that the Government will impose visa changes that bind migrants to live regionally for a set period of time, thereby restricting their freedom of movement. The group has recommended an incentive-based system rather than a punitive one. As recommended by the Regional Australian Institute, incentives such as enabling easier access to family reunion visas could be one option.

Meanwhile, the Australian Migrant Resource Centre and other migrant support groups are also supportive of the initiative for more regional skilled migration visas, provided that the Government funds support systems, such as cheaper housing and the fostering of culturally inclusive communities as incentives for migrants to live regionally.

Immigracious will keep you updated with further details as they emerge. Read about recent skilled visa changes here or to find out if you are eligible for a regional skilled visa, contact our Registered Migration Agents on 08 6263 4406 or for a complimentary assessment. We assist a number of individuals to obtain a visa to live and work in Australia – whether it be regionally or in metropolitan areas.

Source: The AustralianGoondiwindi ArgusThe Daily AdvertiserThe Australian Financial ReviewABC News and ABC News.

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

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