Australia to reduce annual migration cap

Australia is set to reduce its annual migration cap as part of a new initiative to tackle the impact of the country’s increasing population.

As part of a cross -government strategy, Australia will reduce the cap on the migration program, build infrastructure, and plan for a more evenly distributed population growth. These changes are focussed on easing population pressures in the country’s biggest cities, while ensuring regional communities are given a much-needed boost.

The government has announced that from next year the migration cap will be reduced by 15 per cent, meaning the country will aim to welcome 160,000 people rather than the current 190,000.

This change will enhance the Government’s focus on skilled migration, with the number of Employer Sponsored skilled visa places increasing from 35,528 in 2017-18 to 39,000 places in 2019-20. There is no change to the Family stream of the program, with 47,732 places available in 2019-20.

However, incentives will be introduced to encourage more migrants to settle in regional areas. Two new regional visas for skilled workers will be introduced, requiring newcomers to live and work in regional Australia for three years before being able to access permanent residence. A total of 23,000 places will be set aside for these regional visas.

Under these two new categories skilled migrants will be priority processed and will have access to a larger pool of jobs on the eligible occupation lists compared to those who live in major cities. Migrants on these visas must demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia for three years before being becoming eligible to apply for permanent residence

Moreover, new tertiary scholarships to attract Australian and international students to study in regional Australia will also be introduced (AUS$15,000 scholarships will be available to more than 1000 domestic and international students each year).

The changes are designed to ensure that migrants stay in regional Australia longer-term, as they will build ties to a particular location through workforce participation and community involvement, easing the pressure off our congested cities.

Article published 20th March 2019