Regional Migration remains an important aspect of ensuring Australia’s continuing economic success, a swell as providing the best possible settlement opportunities for our newest residents. On 15 May 2018 the Daily Telegraph revealed the government’s intentions to review the possibility of “forcing” migrants who arrive in Australia on “regional” visas to remain in their designated regional areas. It suggests that many “regional migrants” are moving to cities and major metropolitan areas despite the regional focus of their visa.
The Settlement Council of Australia is passionate about making regional migration work. We work actively with government, members and other stakeholders to inform policy development that can provide a much needed boost to regional communities through the arrival of suitable migrants. We see this as a real opportunity for many migrants, including refugees, who currently reside in metropolitan areas but may have better job prospects and opportunities for improving their standard of living if they relocate.
We therefore welcome the government’s intentions to look into this important topic.
We are concerned, however, that a focus on punitive measures imposed as visa conditions is not the best way to achieve such outcomes. Instead, we recommend a comprehensive review be undertaken into what factors attract migrants to regional Australia and, in turn, what factors can help to ensure their successful settlement in those locations. SCoA strongly believes that with proper support and a commitment to improving infrastructure, transport and economic opportunities, the government can ensure retention of migrants in regional locations, to the benefit of all.
You may also be interested in our Regional Settlement Policy Paper, released in November 2016, which is available here.