‘Migrants to the bush’ exposed as regional visas hit decade low
The Morrison Government’s ‘migrants to the bush’ smokescreen has been comprehensively exposed with regional migration approvals hitting a decade low.
Regional visa approvals have fallen to their lowest levels in a decade as the Federal Government prepares to introduce a scheme requiring new arrivals to work outside the major cities for five years…
State-specific and regional visa approvals fell to 36,250 places in 2017-18, according to new figures published by the Government.
John Hourigan, the president of the Migration Institute of Australia, said recent restrictions have effectively phased out key parts of the existing regional scheme.
Visas approved for the regional sponsored migration scheme have fallen from 20,510 five years ago to 6,221 last year…
Mr Hourigan, who spent two decades in the Immigration Department, said adjustments to the points system used to approve visas had been a “game changer” for migration levels.
“That now means that basically everyone has to have proficient English — there are not many ways former overseas students can get to 65 points otherwise,” he said.
A Home Affairs Department spokesperson said the changes had resulted in fewer, but higher quality, visa applications.
“The Department of Home Affairs has recently introduced significant reforms to strengthen the quality of skilled visa applications, including the regional sponsored migration scheme,” the spokesperson said.
“These include enhanced legislation on labour market testing, lowering of the qualifying age, enhanced qualifications and experience.”
This is no bad thing. State-based migration programs have been systemically rorted, with migrants temporarily settling in places like the ACT and Tasmania purely to get the required number of points for permanent residency before moving to Sydney and Melbourne.
Moreover, we are continually told that migrants come to the big cities because that’s where the jobs are and in order to relieve so-called ‘skills shortages’ (a lie in itself). So where is the logic in sending them to regions where there are no jobs? Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of having so-called ‘skilled’ migration?
That said, these figures do show the lunacy of the Morrison Government’s ‘migrants to the bush’ policy, which Scott Morrison himself slammed when the former Gillard Government proposed such a scheme in 2010-11.
Instead, the immigration program has become more centralised that ever, with 94% of migrants last financial year settling in the cities, and 86% settling in just Sydney and Melbourne alone.
We don’t need more policy gimmicks. The immigration intake needs to be normalised back to historical levels