Australia reiterates pledge to focus on regional migration

The Australian Government is backing regional areas to secure the country’s economic future, after the immigration intake fell to its lowest level in ten years.

New figures show that 160,323 visas were granted in 2018-19 under the Permanent Migration Program, the lowest number in a decade.

The program, however, delivered 8,987 places under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, up from 6,221 places in 2017-18 – a 44 per cent increase.

Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman, said the Government will continue to increase its focus on regional migration.

“Our population plan will ease the pressure on the big capitals while supporting the growth of those smaller cities and regions that want more people,” Mr Coleman said. “This year, we’ve reduced the cap for the Migration Program from 190,000 to 160,000.

“We’re also dedicating 23,000 places for regional skilled migrants and have announced two new regional visas to help fill some of the tens of thousands of job vacancies in regional Australia.”

Coleman continued: “We’re directing migration to those smaller cities and regional areas that are crying out for more people and those regional economies that simply cannot fill jobs with local workers.”

The migration program also continues to focus on growing the Australian economy and filling skills gaps, with 109,713 visas granted under the Skill stream of the 2018-19 program – about 70 per cent of the program.

“Skilled migrants have high employment participation rates, low unemployment rates and good annual earnings,” Mr Coleman said.

“We’ll continue to back those migrants who bring critical skills into the country – those who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to funding essential services for Australians.”

The figures also show that 47,247 family visas were awarded in the 2018-19 Migration Program.

Article published 5th September 2019