Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government are trying to persuade skilled migrants away from the nation’s largest cities with a new visa requiring them to spend at least three years in regional Australia as a condition of seeking permanent residency.
Last financial year, out of the 111,000 skilled migrants who were granted visas, only 8534 were given a visa requiring them to live and work in regional Australia for two years before becoming eligible for permanent residency.
Under the proposed changes, the number of regional skilled visas will be increased to 23,000, with the recipients having to spend three years in regional Australia (note this includes Darwin and Adelaide). The hope is that having spent that long in a regional centre, fewer migrants will choose to head for the big cities.
The government will also encourage students to move to regional universities and other institutions with the offer of scholarships, reaching $15,000 apiece.
International students who take up the option will be allowed to stay in Australia for an extra year under their post-study work visa. Currently, students are allowed to work for two or three years, depending on the course they take.
Source : Australian Financial Review