May 16, 2018 The Australian government is considering making changes to regional skilled visas in a bid to ensure migrants stay in their sponsored regional towns after securing permanent residence in Australia.
The new rules, being established by the Home Affairs Department, addresses the major issue of migrants ‘hightailing’ to the capital cities as soon as gaining a permanent visa.
“Many migrants are sponsored for permanent residence on the basis of an intent to live and work in regional Australia but don’t stay long in the region once they have their permanent visa”, said Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge.
“If they’ve come in on the basis of being employed in a regional area, then we think it’s not an unreasonable expectation that they stay in that area for a certain amount of time”.
“We’re looking at ways that we can effectively bind people to the regions if they’ve got a sponsorship to go to those locations”, he continued.
Migrants who arrive on the regional visa can live and work permanently in Australia, and can further sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.
There are a number of visas, such as the Skilled Regional (887) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (187), which allow the migrant to work in a regional area upon arriving in Australia.
However, although many migrants arrive in Australia with their visa conditions being that they would work in the regional areas for a number of years, most choose to relocate to the capital cities.
According to a report, only 7,000 out of the 190,000 migrants to arrive in Australia last year lived outside the capital cities.
This has resulted in population growth and booming house prices in leading cities – an issue that has prompted the government to intervene.
“We do have freedom of association, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement, but it leaves a sour taste if someone sponsors someone to come here on the basis that they’re going to work in a regional centre and then they skip town at the first opportunity”, said David Gillespie, Nationals MP and assistant minister for families.
This issue comes at a particularly strained time, as the number of migrants allowed residence in Australia is currently under scrutiny, with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott publicly calling for the number of annual migrant intake to be reduced to 110,000. However, this call was dismissed by senior government members, who claimed that making this change would actually cost the government $4-5 billion over the next four years.
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[Source: eduaid NewsDesk]