Australia considering changing regional visa rules

The Australian Government is considering changing the rules of regional visas, in an attempt to try to keep immigrants in less populated areas once they arrive to live in Oz.

Under current rules, the points threshold for applicants who choose to settle and work in regional areas of Australia is less than for those who can settle anywhere. The visas require the applicant to work in a particular region for a number of years or to be sponsored by an employer based in the region. However, they do not force the migrant to stay in a rural area once the visa conditions have been satisfied.

The majority of migrants therefore choose to quit their job and move to a larger town or city, once the visa requirements have been met. This is not helping to alleviate skills shortages in rural towns.

“If they’ve come in on the basis of being employed in a regional area, then we think it’s not an unreasonable expectation that they stay in that area for a certain amount of time,” Australia’s Multiculturalism Minister Alan Tudge told reporters in Melbourne. “We’re looking at ways that we can effectively bind people to the regions if they’ve got a sponsorship to go to those locations.”

Minster Tudge added that while the government was looking at the issue, there is as yet no specific plan on how to “bind” the migrants long-term.

Last year, out of the 184,000 migrants given permanent places in Australia, there were nearly 12,000 regional visas granted under the Skilled Regional and Regional Sponsored Migration schemes.

Article published 16th May 2018