The Australian Government believes it is delivering on its promise to boost regional migration.
Recently released figures show that in the first quarter of this program year the Government has granted more than 6,350 regional visas. This is an increase of 124 per cent, compared to the same time last year.
“Governments have always had a strong view about the total number of people who come to Australia through our immigration system, but what we’re doing now is increasing the focus on the distribution of where those people go,” said Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman.
“Already we’re seeing results. The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) has increased by 179 per cent and the Regional Skilled Sponsored visa has increased by 79 per cent, meaning we are well on track to meet our target of 23,000 regional visas by the end of the program year.
“These regional visas are a key pillar of our Population Plan which is working to ease the pressure on the big capitals while supporting the growth of those regions that want more people.”
Earlier this year, the Government announced two new provisional skilled regional visas that will enable regional businesses to fill vacant jobs faster when Australian workers are not available, and encourage skilled migrants and their families to settle and remain in regional areas.
The new regional visas will come into effect on 16th November, replacing the RSMS and Regional Skilled Sponsored visas.
The government has deployed six new Regional Outreach Officers to the states and territories to promote skilled migration initiatives and provide dedicated support to regional employers, helping them understand their skilled visa options.
This is in addition to AUS$19.4 million in funding to support regional areas attract skilled migrants, including by providing priority processing on regional visa applications.
The Government is also seeing growth in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program, with 43,000 young people granted a second-year visa in 2018-19 – an increase of 20 per cent.
Only working holiday makers who complete three months of specified work in a regional area can access the second-year WHM visa. This means a growing number of young people are working in and supporting regional and rural areas, particularly on farms.
“The Government is working with regional communities to ensure our visa programs are able to support farmers and regional businesses fill critical workforce shortages,” Mr Coleman said.
Article published 14th October 2019