Australia’s federal government is increasing intake under its regional migration program from 23,000 to 25,000 after the initial success of the initiative and will no longer classify Perth and the Gold Coast as “major cities” in an effort to make them destinations for skilled migrants and international students.
Under the program announced earlier this year, 23,000 places would be reserved for migrants who commit to living and working in regional Australia, according to a report by SBS News.
If they commit to living and working in the regions for at least three years, they will be eligible for permanent residency. Immigration Minister David Coleman said 6,000 visas were approved under the program in the first three months of this financial year, compared with under 3,000 in the final quarter of 2018/19 and prior to the initiative getting underway.
The definition of regional Australia for migration purposes will also change: Perth and the Gold Coast will no longer be classified as “major cities” to assist the areas to attract more skilled migrants.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was keen to highlight the impact it would have on taking pressure off the main capital cities: “We’re using our migration programme to back our regions to grow to take the population pressure off major capital cities and by supporting strong regions we’re creating an even stronger economy for Australia. These changes will boost the appeal for so many cities and regional centers that are looking to grow their population to support local services likes schools and health care, while attracting new workers and students meaning more jobs and more investment”.
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