The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that the Government is discussing cutting the number of immigrants given visas to live and work in the country.

In a speech he hinted that States could be given more of a say in determining immigration levels and this would put an end to the current national cap on numbers.

Australia Immigration

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His hints come at a time when immigration if already falling, with 162,417 permanent visas granted in the last year, a fall of 10% and the lowest level for 10 years. The numbers are not expected to rise.

One of the biggest drivers behind cutting immigration is the fact that most people want to move to the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne where rising populations are putting pressure on housing, education, the health service and infrastructure.

Morrison acknowledged that voters in Australia's biggest cities 'are concerned about population. They are saying: enough, enough, enough. The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full. The schools are taking no more enrolments. I hear what you are saying. I hear you loud and clear. That's why we need to improve how we manage population growth in this country,' he said.

But he also believes that 'controlled' immigration is important for Australia so he is keen to see some kind of system that encourages, even incentivises, people to move to where they are needed the most and where they will be less of a burden on services.

He believes that there needs to be mechanisms in place to direct new migrants to the areas where there are the jobs, services and opportunities and he pointed out that Australia needs steady population growth to sustain economic growth, particularly over the next three decades as the ageing of the population impacts of workforce participation.

He also pointed out that immigrants are younger on average, and mainly employed. 'Without migration, Australia's workforce would be shrinking by 2020. With migration, the Productivity Commission estimates that labour force participation will be around 10% higher in 2060,' he said.

He also stressed the economic benefits associated with temporary migration. 'This year, we have almost 600,000 foreign students studying in Australia. From the cafes of Glebe and the bars of Parramatta, to the computer stores of Canberra and the laundromats of Coffs Harbour, these students are supporting jobs,' he told the audience.

Morrison added that he will be putting in place a conversation about population with state and territory leaders. It comes a time when figures show that three quarters of Australia's population growth is in Melbourne, Sydney and South East Queensland, while areas such as Tasmania, Adelaide and Darwin are crying out for more people.

High rates of population growth are putting pressure on parts of Sydney, according to New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian. 'We need to look at encouraging people to consider living in different parts of Sydney, the surrounding regions and in regional New South Wales,' she said.