New Migrants forced to live in regional areas rather than overcrowded Sydney or Melbourne under new visa rules

Immigrants coming to Australia on a regional-sponsored visa would be forced to stay in the country under a new policy being considered by the Federal Government.NEW migrants will be forced to remain in regional areas under the terms of their visas to prevent them moving to big cities once their permanent residency is approved. Sydney’s population increased by more than 100,000 people in 2017 and more than 80 per cent were from overseas.The Home Affairs Department is looking into how they can ‘bind people to a regional area,’ First Assistant Secretary David Wilden told the Daily Telegraph.

The federal Home Affairs office is developing new visa rules to “bind” people to a regional area for the duration of a visa to better help them assimilate, after only 7000 of 190,000 migrants settled in rural areas in 2017. “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,” citizenship minister Alan Tudge told News Corp on Tuesday, describing the situation as “a major issue”. The Turnbull government is considering changes to regional skilled visas to “bind” migrants to rural areas even after they secure a permanent place in Australia, multiculturalism minister Alan Tudge has revealed.

The minister said many migrants who were specifically sponsored for regional jobs were later quitting those jobs and moving to the cities, perpetuating skills shortages in regional towns. “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.” Australia has a handful of visas specifically on offer to those who want to work in a regional area, including the Skilled Regional (887) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (187). Last year, out of the 184,000 migrants given permanent places in Australia, there were nearly 12,000 regional visas granted under those schemes. Those visas require the applicant to work in a regional area for a number of years or to be sponsored by a regional employer – but they do not force the migrant to stay in a rural area once the visa conditions have been satisfied. Mr Tudge said the government was looking at the issue but there was no specific plan on how to “bind” the migrants long-term.

The head of the Home Affairs department, Michael Pezzullo, told a Senate committee there could be “legal” challenges in restricting long-term freedom of movement, but said it would not be a “fatal flaw or concern”. Nationals MP and assistant minister for families David Gillespie said it was “very frustrating” for companies who sponsored regional migrants when they later “hightailed it” to the cities. Regional employers often felt “shortchanged” when they paid for a migrant’s airfares, only for them to leave the area a short time later. “We do have freedom of association, freedom of speech and freedom of movement,” Dr Gillespie told  on Tuesday. “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 center and then they skip town at the first opportunity.” Dr Gillespie would not comment on the government’s legal options but raised the example of overseas doctors, who often came on visas that linked their Medicare billing to a regional center for up to 10 years.

 

Post expires at 2:45pm on Sunday May 20th, 2018

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