New skilled visas for regional Australia

From today, skilled migrants who commit to living and working in regional Australia will have access to two new skilled provisional visas.

The two new skilled regional provisional visas are:

– Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.

– Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.

Successful regional visa applicants will become eligible to apply for permanent residency if they can demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia for three years.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said there will be additional incentives for skilled migrants and their families to settle in regional areas.

“Applicants for the two new visas will receive priority processing and have access to a wider range of jobs than those applying to migrate to our major cities,” Mr Coleman said. “By requiring migrants to live and work in a regional area for at least three years we are encouraging them to put down roots in those communities, meaning they are more likely to stay longer term.

The new visas build on the Government’s ongoing regional migration initiatives, which have seen a 124 per cent increase the number of regional visas granted in the first quarter of this programme year.

This year, although the Government reduced the cap on Australia’s permanent migration programme from 190,000 to 160,000, within that reduced cap, the number of places allocated to regional visas has increased to 25,000.

“We are easing the population pressures on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and promoting growth in those regional areas that need more people,” Mr Coleman continued. “Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in helping to address regional skills gaps and grow local economies.”

A simplified definition of regional Australia will also be applied with immediate effect. All of Australia, except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, are now classified as regional for migration purposes.

Seven Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) have also been signed with regions around the country to address their specific skilled migration needs.

The Government has also deployed a team of Regional Outreach Officers to promote skilled migration initiatives and provide dedicated support to regional employers, helping them understand their options to attract and retain skilled migrants.

Article published 18th November 2019