Celebrating Australia's record as the world's most successful immigration nation will be a key priority, according to the country's new Immigration Minister.

David Coleman is set to oversee the introduction of tougher rules for citizenship and a new emphasis on visas for people wanting to live and work in regional areas away from large cities like Sydney and Melbourne.


'Australia is stronger and more prosperous as a nation because of our multicultural heritage. We value people based on the contribution they make, irrespective of colour, religion, or ethnicity, and who embrace our national values and laws,' he said.

'Across Australia we see the success of our multi-cultural society. We see hard working families raising kids. We see small business owners, investing in Australia and creating thousands of jobs. We see religious leaders, professionals, community volunteers, people who help build the backbone of our nation,' he added.

He mentioned the latest figures which show that more than 160,000 migrants arrived in Australia in the 2017/2018 with nearly 70% of those skilled migrants, contributing essential skills and innovation.

But one of his priorities is to get more people to regional communities that are struggling to attract people to live and work. This could mean new regional visas being introduced.

'There are a number of different regional visa classes at the moment and one of the things I'm assessing is the effectiveness of each of those programs and potential ways of improving those,' he explained.

Currently, there are several visas available to migrants to fill skills shortages in rural and regional Australia. According to figures compiled by the Department of Home Affairs, some 10,918 places were awarded under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme in the 2016/2017 financial year. Along with the 1,670 Skilled Regional visas, they formed only about 10% of permanent migration visas.

But Coleman has not yet set out his plans for citizenship reform, in particular whether or not a tougher English test will be introduced and also whether or not there will be changes to the application process, all things which were discussed before he took over as Minister.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Citizenship Day 2018, he said: 'Australia has come a long way since 1949 when the first Australian citizenship ceremony was held, seeing seven men from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia pledge their allegiance to Australia. Despite their varied backgrounds, they demonstrated the unifying power of Australian values.

'Since then, we have welcomed more than five million new citizens to our shores. These are individuals and families who have embraced Australia as their home, have contributed to our economy, our communities and the rich tapestry of our multicultural society, and have helped build a stronger more prosperous Australia,' he concluded.