New visas will help job vacancies outside the cities

The think tank known as the ‘Regional Australia Institute’ claims that millions of people in regional Australia will benefit from the government’s population policy. The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has welcomed the core elements of the federal government’s Population Policy which Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled last week. The policy includes a permanent migration intake very similar to last year’s and the introduction of two new regional visas for skilled workers.

RAI co-CEO, Dr Kim Houghton, says the focus on regional migration helps to address the issue of job shortages in many areas, with more than 42,000 vacancies across regional Australia.

“Lifting the number of regional visas to 23,000 will make it easier for migrants looking for work to move to regional areas, and we welcome the government’s changes,” Dr Houghton said. “While we know migrants want to move to regional Australia and many communities want to welcome them, the next stage is making sure they stay.”

Research shows that for permanent migrants who arrived in Australia between 2006-2011 and who settled outside the big four cities, 84 per cent were still living there in 2016. The RAI has extensively researched the social and economic benefits of regional migration. It has worked with many regional leaders and communities who have undertaken their own “locally-led” migration strategies.

Those communities include the Victorian centres of Nhill, Rupanyup and Pyramid Hill; Mingoola near Tenterfield, in NSW, Dalwallinu in WA.

“Our work in 2016 – The Missing Migrants – exposed an untapped opportunity for regional areas to fight declining populations and economic adversity. Back then, we said it was a regional solution that could also reduce congestion and employment issues in our major cities,” Dr Houghton said.

Earlier this month, the RAI released its National Population Plan for Regional Australia, where again one of the key factors was removing barriers for secondary migration. “On the whole, we know people are choosing a life in regional Australia with more than 400,000 moving away from our capital cities from 2011-2016,” Houghton said.

Courtesy of Fresh Plaza &