Alan Tudge, Population Minister, is inspired by the Canadian model of letting provinces decide their desired migration levels. Australia is looking to Canada to attract more migrants to move to the regional areas.
Minister Tudge wants to emulate Canada’s model of giving its provinces a greater say in deciding their immigration levels. The Canadian provinces, thus, are more successful in attracting new migrants to settle in the regions instead of the major cities.
Australia has cut down immigration levels in a bid to decongest the major cities in the country. The annual cap on permanent migration has been reduced from 190,000 to 160,000. Australia is also introducing more incentives to encourage migrants and foreign students in regional areas.
Before Canada changed its immigration policy in the early 90s, only 10% of the migrants settled in areas outside the major cities. Now, the figure has increased to more than 34%.
Only 14% of the 1.4 million migrants in Australia settled outside the major cities between 2011 and 2016.
Mr Tudge attributes Canada’s success to strong welcome and support programs for new immigrants. These programs help new immigrants find work and integrate into the community.
Mr Tudge says that Canada is an interesting case study in how immigration policies can help achieve better population distribution.
Mr Tudge also wants to emulate countries like France and Germany who have used fast rail to connect the regional areas to the big capital cities. Australia wants to connect most of the neighbouring cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the next 20 years.
Australia is gearing up to launch the new Regional Visas on 16th November 2019. These visas will allow skilled migrants a pathway to PR for having lived in the regional areas for 3 years.
Migration Experts have welcomed the Government’s initiatives to encourage more migrants to live in the regional areas. However, they also warn that such initiatives have failed in the past. Migrants tend to move back to the major cities once the mandatory stay period is up.
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