New polices being considered to attract more overseas workers to regional Australia

by Ray Clancy on August 8, 2018

in Australia Immigration

A new population policy aimed at attracting more people from overseas to live in regional Australia is being developed by the Australian Government, it has been confirmed.

The aim is to take account of growth trends when devising immigration policies so that regional areas become as attractive as Sydney and Melbourne where most overseas workers want to live.

Australia Map

(By okili77/Shutterstock.com)

However, there is controversy surrounding the idea of setting immigration targets on a regional basis, although some regions are in favour of the idea.

It comes at a time when annual immigration is falling despite many analysts saying that skilled international workers are essential as the Australian population ages. Indeed, the most recent figures show that the annual permanent immigration intake fell by more than 10% to its lowest level in more than a decade.

There were 162,000 permanent immigrants in the 2017/2018 financial year, down from 183,000 in 2016/2017 and well under the 190,000 a year current ceiling, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

South Australia is one State that wants increased levels of immigration. The State’s Premier Steven Marshall has called for a preferential migrant status to encourage foreign students and skilled overseas workers to come to the region.

He pointed out that while some parts of the country are struggling to cope with their high population numbers, others like South Australia are having the opposite problem. He revealed figures which show that in the last financial year there was an increase of just 10,000 over 12 months whereas Victoria had a 10,000 person increase every 26 days.

He added that regional Queensland grew at treble the entire South Australian population growth. ‘We would ultimately like to negotiate a preferential migration status for South Australia, especially around increasing regional population and international students,’ he said.

He also believes that the State’s massive skills shortages were impacting South Australia’s economy. ‘There’s a mismatch between the skills and desires to work in certain industries,’ he added.

Australia’s population is set to hit 25 million soon and projected to reach 36 million by 2050.
Sydney and Melbourne are expected to make up a collective 16 million of that, almost half.

The plea for more workers comes at a time when others are pointing out that major cities, in particular Sydney and Melbourne, are heading towards overpopulation. There is strains on infrastructure and in particular housing.

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge has said that the Government is considering new visa rules that would encourage people to move to regional areas. ‘There are many regions in Australia that are now facing skilled labour shortages and we are working with regional leaders and businesses to find solutions,’ he said in May.

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