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New visas encourage migrants to settle in the bush

25 November 20190 comments

The federal government has released a new range of visas that prioritise a new group of occupations in a bid to get more migrants to settle in regional areas.

The new visas are aimed at skilled migrants, including architects, scientists, blacksmiths, naturopaths, surgeons and others, to settle in regional areas.

Also among workers eligible to come to Australia through new regional visa pathways also are, actors, pilots, archaeologists, homoeopaths, nurses and carpenters and farmers.

Migrants are being encouraged to settle in the regions under a federal government push to reduce congestion in the major cities and support regional economies.

Two new skilled visas have been rolled out, which require skilled migrants to live and work regionally for three years to gain access to permanent residency.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said the new visas would help ease population pressures on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and give regional communities access to skilled workers.

“We are promoting growth in those regional areas that need more people,” 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 long term,” he said

The two new regional visas include a skilled employer-sponsored regional visa for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.

A 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, will also be introduced.

The Federal government has allocated 25,000 places for the regional visas.

This comes alongside a plan to reduce the nation’s permanent migration program from 190,000 to 160,000.

All of Australia – except for Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane –  is classified as regional for the purposes of the regional migration visas.

This came after Perth and the Gold Coast were added to the eligible locations following lobbying from stakeholders.

Some migration analysts have raised concerns the provisional nature of the new regional visas will make them less attractive to prospective applicants.

But Mr Coleman said regional visas will receive priority processing and have access to a wider range of jobs than those applying to migrate to major cities.

The Federal government says there was a 124 per cent increase in the number of regional visas granted in the first quarter of this year.

Labor’s Home Affairs spokesperson Kristina Keneally has accused the government of overseeing ‘go-slow’ in visa processing times and of ‘strangling regional migration’.

Seven Designated Area Migration Agreements have been signed with regions around the country to address the specific migration needs of migrants.

Meanwhile, the Federal government has deployed a team of Regional Outreach Officers to support regional employers. 

See a full list of eligible skilled occupations here: