Australia has launched new Regional Visas in November this year. As per an ANU research, country towns have struggled to retain immigrants over the last four decades.
The research was led by Prof James Rayner, who led a team of researchers from the Australian National University. The researchers collected and refined 40 years of data which indicated that migrants have a low chance of staying back in the regional areas. And this pattern was consistent over the years.
Prof Rayner said that their research showed that almost 70% of the immigrants leave within the first five years. The ones who stay back in Australia tend to move to bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne. The research also shows that new migrant groups have a higher chance of leaving the regional areas.
However, David Coleman, Immigration Minister, believes that the new Regional Visas will succeed in attracting and retaining migrants in the regional areas. He says that Australia wants skilled immigrants to settle in designated regional areas long-term. The Govt. is working to ensure that these immigrants are not at a disadvantage in comparison to the bigger cities.
The new Regional Visas require immigrants to live in designated regional areas for at least three years to qualify for Permanent Residence.
To retain immigrants in the regional areas, the Australian Govt. has granted Regional Visa holders the same access to Medicare and other Govt. services like other permanent residents. The Australian Govt. is committed to supporting migrants to intend to live and work in the regional areas.
The Migration Institute of Australia, however, has criticized the required income threshold of AUD 53,900 for Regional Visa holders to be eligible for PR.
The ANU data provides the most comprehensive picture of Australian regional migration ever collected. The project tracks 19 nationality groups across 47 regions of who has moved where since 1981.
According to the research, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia had the lowest migrant retention rates.
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