The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn


The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn under a standard business sponsorship between 14 August 2018 and 31 December 2018, with a shocking 2324 failed applications over a 4-month period.

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) report obtained by a colleague in NSW and shared by our peak membership association, the Migration Institute of Australia, implies a staggering $7 million dollars has potentially been taken by the Australian Government for Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) nomination applications that went nowhere.

The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn under a standard business sponsorship between 14 August 2018 and 31 December 2018, with a shocking 2324 failed applications over a 4-month period.

This money has been generated via the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, a fee payable per applicant, per year of nomination, with an amount based on the turnover of the company (under or over $10 million per annum). Payments into the SAF are intended to be used to fund apprenticeships and traineeships in the vocational education sector in order to ‘boost the number of people who choose and succeed in this pathway and help address skills shortages across Australia’1

The SAF – payable up-front and in full at the time of lodgement – is not refunded if the TSS Nomination application is refused or withdrawn. In fact, there is no legislative ability to even apply for a refund on this basis!

Representatives of our peak membership association, the Migration Institute of Australia, have been canvassing politicians on the subject of SAF payments and refunds – even going directly to Canberra to raise the issues – but there have been no reports on what has been discussed or decided.

It is surprising that business groups do not appear to be complaining about this money-raising exercise, as many of these applications would have been lodged by businesses themselves.

The moral of the story? It is crucial to ensure that your TSS Nomination application is accurate, compliant, and complete. Not only could your business miss out on skilled workers to meet your needs, you could also incur losses of thousands of dollars that cannot be recovered.

Small (annual turnover less than $10 million) AUD1200 per year or part thereof AUD3000 one-off
Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more) AUD1800 per year or part thereof AUD5000 one-off

Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas

Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas
Visas for General Practitioners: Health Workforce Certificate – a new requirement for employer sponsored visas commenced on 11 March 2019.

New requirements for employers sponsoring overseas doctors to work in Australia will commence on 11 March 2019. When employers lodge employer nomination applications for a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa for an overseas trained doctor (OTD) in any of the occupations listed below, they must ensure the application includes a Health Workforce Certificate issued by a Rural Workforce Agency.

Occupations nominated in visa applications:
General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111),
Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112); and
Medical Practitioner not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 253999) occupation.

The certificate will only be provided where the advertised position responds to genuine workforce need. Without the certificate the nomination cannot be accepted by The Department of Home Affairs and the related visa cannot be granted.

For information how to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate go to:
Fact Sheets (PDF 199 KB)

Forms – Request an application form for a Health Workforce Certificate from

The Department of Home Affairs

Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists Added to MLTSSL

Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists
Added to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047; LIN 19/048; LIN 19/049; LIN 19/051

Telecommunications network planner (ANZSCO code 313213)
Pressure welder (ANZSCO code 322312)
Environmental Manager (ANZSCO code 139912)
Musician (Instrumental) (ANZSCO code 211213)
Statistician (ANZSCO code 224113)
Economist (ANZSCO code 224311)
Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum) (ANZSCO code 233611)
Petroleum Engineer (ANZSCO code 233612)
Engineering Professionals nec (ANZSCO code 233999)
Chemist (ANZSCO code 234211)
Food Technologist (ANZSCO code 234212)
Environmental Consultant (ANZSCO code 234312)
Environmental Research Scientist (ANZSCO code 234313)
Environmental Scientists nec (ANZSCO code 234399)
Geophysicist (ANZSCO code 234412)
Hydrogeologist (ANZSCO code 234413)
Life Scientist (General) (ANZSCO code 234511)
Biochemist (ANZSCO code 234513)
Biotechnologist (ANZSCO code 234514)
Botanist (ANZSCO code 234515)
Marine Biologist (ANZSCO code 234516)
Microbiologist (ANZSCO code 234517)
Zoologist (ANZSCO code 234518)
Life Scientists nec (ANZSCO code 234599)
Conservator (ANZSCO code 234911)
Metallurgist (ANZSCO code 234912)
Meteorologist (ANZSCO code 234913)
Natural and Physical Science Professionals nec (ANZSCO code 234999)
University Lecturer (ANZSCO code 242111)
Multimedia Specialist (ANZSCO code 261211)
Software and Applications Programmers nec (ANZSCO code 261399)
Horse Trainer (ANZSCO code 361112)
Physicist – no longer restricted to medical physicist
Added to STSOL

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/048

visual arts and crafts professionals (nec) (ANZSCO code 211499)
textile, clothing and footwear mechanic (ANZSCO code 323215)
watch and clock maker and repairer (ANZSCO code 323316)
chemical plant operator (ANZSCO code 399211)
library technician (ANZSCO code 399312)
Moved from STSOL to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments – LIN 19/047; LIN 19/048; LIN 19/049; LIN 19/050

arts administrator or manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
dancer or choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
music director (ANZSCO code 211212)
artistic director (ANZSCO code 212111)
tennis coach (ANZSCO code 452316)
footballer (ANZSCO code 452411)
Removed from STSOL

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/050

Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals (ANZSCO code 211499)
Textile, Clothing and Footwear Mechanic (ANZSCO code 323215)
Watch and Clock Maker and Repairer (ANZSCO code 323316)
Chemical Plant Operator (ANZSCO code 399211)
Library Technician (ANZSCO code 399312)
Arts Administrator or Manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
Dancer or Choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
Music Director (ANZSCO code 211212)
Artistic Director (ANZSCO code 212111)
Footballer (ANZSCO code 452411)
Aquaculture Farmer (ANZSCO code 121111)
Cotton Grower (ANZSCO code 121211)
Fruit or Nut Grower (ANZSCO code 121213)
Grain, Oilseed or Pasture Grower (ANZSCO code 121214)
Mixed Crop Farmer (ANZSCO code 121216)
Sugar Cane Grower (ANZSCO code 121217)
Crop Farmers nec (ANZSCO code 121299)
Beef Cattle Farmer (ANZSCO code 121312)
Dairy Cattle Farmer (ANZSCO code 121313)
Mixed Livestock Farmer (ANZSCO code 121317)
Pig Farmer (ANZSCO code 121318)
Sheep Farmer (ANZSCO code 121322)
Livestock Farmers nec (ANZSCO code 121399)
Mixed Crop and Livestock Farmer (ANZSCO code 121411)
Dentist (ANZSCO code 252312)
Anaesthetist (ANZSCO code 253211)
Tennis Coach (ANZSCO code 4542316)
Added to Regional Occupation List

Applicable Instrument LIN 19/048

deer farmer (ANZSCO code 121314)
goat farmer (ANZSCO code 121315)
Added to Regional Occupation List, removed from STSOL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/048;

aquaculture farmer (ANZSCO code 121111)
cotton grower (ANZSCO code 121211)
fruit or nut grower (ANZSCO code 121213)
grain, oilseed or pasture grower (Aus) / field crop grower (NZ) (ANZSCO code 121214)
mixed crop farmer (ANZSCO code 121216)
sugar cane grower (ANZSCO code 121217)
crop farmers (nec) (ANZSCO code 121299)
beef cattle farmer (ANZSCO code 121312)
dairy cattle farmer (ANZSCO code 121313)
mixed livestock farmer (ANZSCO code 121317)
pig farmer (ANZSCO code 121318)
sheep farmer (ANZSCO code 121322)
livestock farmers (nec) (ANZSCO code 121399)
mixed crop and livestock farmer (ANZSCO code 121411)
dentist (ANZSCO code 252312)
anaesthetist (ANZSCO code 253211)
Removed from Regional Occupation List moved to MLTSSL

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047; LIN 19/049

arts administrator or manager (ANZSCO code 139911)
dancer or choreographer (ANZSCO code 211112)
music director (ANZSCO code 211212)
artistic director (ANZSCO code 212111)
tennis coach (ANZSCO code 452316)
footballer (ANZSCO code 452411)
telecommunications network planner (ANZSCO code 313213)
pressure welder (ANZSCO code 322312)
Occupations with added conditions

Applicable Instruments: LIN 19/047 (SC 187); LIN 19/048 (SC 482); LIN 19/049 (SC 186)

The following medical practitioner occupations now require a Health Workforce Certificate for the position and occupation to be presented with the nomination application

general practitioner (ANZSCO code 253111)
medical practitioners (nec) (ANZSCO code 253999)
resident medical officer (ANZSCO code 253112)
Applicability conditions added/changed

Condition 25

imposes a minimum salary of $120,000 pa for footballers
replaces Condition 23 for ship’s masters and gas or petroleum operators
Condition 26

replaces Conditions 23 for recruitment consultants on the STSOL and reduces the annual salary required to $80,000

Student placements

Student placements
What is a vocational placement?
Further information
Contact us
Download the fact sheet:

Student placements (PDF 154.3KB)
Vocational placements provide students with the opportunity to apply the theory and skills they learned while studying in a professional workplace.

Under these arrangements students can gain the skills they need to transition successfully from study to work, while giving industry the opportunity to enrich student learning experiences and increase the number of work-ready graduates.

Vocational placements that meet the definition under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the FW Act) are lawfully unpaid. Students completing vocational placements are not considered to be employees and therefore are not entitled to the minimum wage nor other entitlements provided under the FW Act.

What is a vocational placement?
Under the FW Act, a vocational placement is lawfully unpaid if it meets all the following criteria:

There must be a placement. This can be arranged by the educational or training institution, or a student may initiate the placement with an individual business directly, in line with the requirements of their course.
There must be no entitlement to pay for the work the student undertakes. Where a student’s contract with the host business or organisation entitles them to receive money for the work they perform, the vocational placement will likely have turned into an employment relationship. Similarly, work arrangements covered by industrial awards or agreements are not vocational placements.
The placement must be done as a requirement of an education or training course. The placement must be a required component of the course as a whole, or of an individual subject or module of the course. It doesn’t matter whether that subject is compulsory or an elective chosen by the student.
The placement must be one that is approved. The institution delivering the course which provides for the placement must be authorised under an Australian, state or territory law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth or a state or territory to do so. Courses offered at universities, TAFE colleges and schools (whether public or private) will all satisfy this requirement, as will bodies authorised to offer training courses under state or territory legislation.
When all of the above criteria are satisfied, hosts are not required to pay students entitlements under the FW Act. However, a host may elect to provide payment(s) at their discretion and under no obligation.

If the placement doesn’t meet all of the above criteria, it won’t be a vocational placement under the FW Act. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that the person is an employee and entitled to payment. The next step is to determine whether or not the person is in an employment relationship.

For more information on determining whether or not an employment relationship exists see our Unpaid Work Fact Sheet

Example 1
Katrina is in her 3rd year of a nursing degree. As part of her course, Katrina is required to complete a minimum of 4 weeks’ work experience with a registered hospital in her state in order to graduate. Katrina approaches her local hospital as they have a pre-existing relationship with her university and have regular student placements. The placement is authorised by her university, and Katrina understands it is a learning exercise and that she won’t be paid. As the arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

Example 2
Jayne is in her final year of a mechanical engineering degree and has completed her formal class studies. As a requirement to graduate, Jayne has to organise professional engineering work experience at a business for 12 weeks. While Jayne has to organise the placement herself, the University has strict criteria about needing to assess an employer to ensure her vocational placement provides the relevant learning environment, and gives final sign-off on the placement. As this arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

If the business decides to get Jayne to sign an employment contract and pay her wages for her work, it may turn the placement into an employment relationship. If an employment relationship is created, Jayne is entitled to at least the legal minimum rate of pay for the type of work she is performing.

Example 3
Mitchell is choosing his elective units for the following year’s study as part of his undergraduate degree. One of the electives is a 3 month unpaid placement organised by the university at a host business that provides a structured learning experience related to his degree. This placement counts as credit towards meeting his total course requirement. Because the elective forms part of his course, Mitchell’s placement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act. As this arrangement meets the definition of a vocational placement under the FW Act, it can be unpaid.

While the FW Act does not provide entitlements to students doing vocational placements, there may still be obligations in other legislation, such as those about work health and safety or discrimination that apply to them…/unpaid-work/student-placements

457 visa repeal leaves talent gap in advertising

457 visa repeal leaves talent gap in advertising

Top recruiters believe the 457 visa repeal is contributing to a bigger talent gap in the advertising industry, but is it time the industry stopped complaining and focused on training local execs?

Speaking at the AdNews Lessons in Leadership event, the panel shared their frustrations with recruiting from overseas following the overhaul of the 457 visa that moved a number of advertising specific roles to the list of occupations only eligible for the short term visa, which does not offer a route to permanent residency.

Iknowho consultant Sheryn Small agencies are shying away from sponsoring people as it’s become more expensive and a more difficult process, which in turn has made it harder for recruiters to find talent.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of the talent pool, particularly in the advertising industry, comes from abroad,” Small said.

“It’s having an impact on our ability to find people in the market and to also employ people with international experience, which used to be really attractive for a lot of agencies. It’s a lot tougher to do.”

Small was speaking on the panel alongside Publicis Communications talent acquisition director Courtney Robinson, Scout managing director Patrick Flaherty, Hourigan International leadership consultant Simon Hadfield and Commtract CEO Luke Achterstraat.

Robinson said research from Publicis found that Australia loses 15% of its talent to overseas opportunities and there are no international candidates to plug those holes following the 457 changes.

“We’re losing a lot of people and not able to get them back,” she said.

Flaherty argued that the talent shortage and skills gap is nothing new, particularly for media agencies struggling to fill complex data and technology roles, so it’s time the industry accepted the 457 changes as a reality and focused now on training.

“There’s a lot of negativity around the changes but we need to embrace it. We’re constantly trying to educate our company’s leaders and look at upskilling and development of their staff. That’s crucial right now because talent pools are rapidly shrinking,” he said.

“The pools are shrinking by the second, which is an alarming rate, but we have to do something about that and the clear way of doing that is through training, upskilling and trying to promote people back into the industry.”


Australia’s new immigration minister reveals visa priority

Australia’s new immigration minister reveals visa priority

David Coleman said his priority is to get migrants to struggling regional communities. But, he hasn’t forgotten about controversial plans to toughen citizenship requirements.

Australia’s new Immigration Minister David Coleman has flagged a revamp of regional visas, saying some towns are begging for migrants.

“That’s something I’m looking at very closely at the moment,” Mr Coleman told on Wednesday.

“There are a number of different regional visa classes at the moment and one of the things I’m assessing is the effectiveness of each of those programs and potential ways of improving those.”

Currently, there are several visas available to migrants to fills skills shortages in rural and regional Australia.

Towns including Warrnambool in Victoria, the Goldfields region of Western Australia and the entire state of South Australia are asking for thousands of migrants, according to Mr Coleman.

“There are lots of examples at the moment of regions that are seeking additional immigration to fulfil economic needs,” he said.

“We have quite a few regional gaps in employment right now.”

According to figures compiled by the Department of Home Affairs, 10,918 places were awarded under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme in the 2016-17 financial year.

Along with the 1,670 Skilled Regional visas, they formed about 10 per cent of permanent migration visas.

The former Assistant Finance Minister holds the marginal Sydney seat of Banks and was elevated to the outer ministry after the Liberal leadership spill last month.

The 44-year-old MP served as an assistant finance minister in the Turnbull Government and was first elected to the House of Representatives for Banks, New South Wales, in 2013.

The immigration portfolio was separated from Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs ministry and given to Mr Coleman, as well as the Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs ministries.

“Immigration has been so fundamental to our success as a country,” he said.

“The history of our nation is one of immigration because, apart from Indigenous Australians, we’re all immigrants.”

Fourty-four per cent of his electorate is overseas-born, with people of Chinese ancestry being the largest migrant group.

On the issue of Australian citizenship, the minister would not go into specifics about the government reviving plans to change the requirements to become a citizen.

The controversial plans to introduce a tougher English language test, increase residency requirements and requiring applicants to sign an ‘Australian Values statement’ were quashed by the Senate late last year.

While he didn’t go into detail about English language requirements, Mr Coleman reiterated the importance of learning English.

“Having some English is obviously a good thing in Australian life,” he said.

“The more English people are able to speak, the more they can contribute in Australian life.”

Mr Coleman said the government was “in consultations” about re-introducing elements of the legislation.



Government dumps farm labour visa plan

Government dumps farm labour visa plan

The federal government has dumped plans for a new farm labour visa to fill a huge gap in the rural workforce.

The National Farmers Federation and other groups have been urging the federal government to introduce a special agricultural visa, which would allow a greater flow of foreign workers for jobs such as fruit picking and packing.

Rural industries have found local workers are not attracted to short-term and seasonal work and they instead heavily rely on foreign labour.

It’s been estimated as many as 30,000 extra workers are needed each year.

However, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has been forced to go back to the drawing board after cabinet colleagues shot down the idea of a special agricultural visa early last week.

It is understood Mr Littleproud is now working on a plan which would tweak the existing Pacific island labour program while also encouraging more Australians to take up farm jobs.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told cabinet the Pacific program was central to Australia’s efforts to deal with Chinese influence in the region, and would be put at risk by the plan.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton voiced concerns a new visa could open up a new way for illegal immigrants to enter the country.

Asked about the discussion on Wednesday, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he didn’t want to “get into cabinet deliberations”.

But he emphasised the government was keen to maintain strong international relationships and current arrangements were popular with Australia’s Pacific neighbours.

“But by the same token, we are also very conscious of the fact that there is a need across the agricultural sector for more workers,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

Labor says a new plan would have to be assessed in line with the seasonal program for Pacific countries.

Opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen told reporters in Townsville the region had high levels of unemployment, and locals would want to be considered for farm work over foreigners on 457 visas.

“457 visas play a role, but that’s got to be where there are genuine shortages, where businesses have tried and failed to get their jobs filled, he said on Wednesday.

“But until and when that is the case, it’s just not what the system is designed for.”


Sydneysiders want migration restricted in the city: poll

Almost two-thirds of people believe migration to Sydney should be restricted and new arrivals sent to the regions, exclusive polling reveals as the Premier says she wants a better not bigger NSW.

The ReachTel poll for the Herald also shows that overdevelopment remains a key issue for voters, as the state and federal governments face the pressue of worsening congestion and population growth.

The poll results come as the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, signalled plans to slow the intake of some temporary migrants and to encourage new arrivals to settle regionally.

Mr Morrison, with his Immigration Minister David Coleman and Cities Minister Alan Tudge, are looking at simplifying the visa process to get more migrants to move outside the major cities.

More than 63 per cent of voters polled for the Herald supported restricting migrant numbers while 50 per cent opposed more development in Sydney to accommodate population growth.

The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said the debate around population should focus on people and how to” ensure the best quality of life for all of us”.

“I want NSW to continue to be seen as the magnet for human talent,” Ms Berejikian said.

“But I am also fiercely committed to protecting and improving our way of life, and all that we love about our local communities -our parks, our open spaces, our beautiful beaches, waterways and bushland.”

Ms Berejiklian said there needed to be a national debate about population policy and she would be encouraging Mr Morrison to “join me in leading that discussion for the country’s benefit.”

“States are on the frontline of infrastructure and service delivery so it makes sense we should have a say on population policy,” Ms Berejikilan said.

“Rather than talk about a big Australia, we should always strive for a better Australia. We also need to encourage and make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW.”

The Migration Council of Austalia chief executive Carla Wilshire said redirecting migration to the regions was not going to fix the congestion problems plaguing Sydney and Melbourne.

“I can understand why people in Sydney feel like this but by restricting migration, it doesn’t solve an underlying under-investment in infrastructure and urban transport,” Ms Wilshire said.

The poll of 1627 people taken on Thursday night also asked voters to nominate the issues of concern to them, with the cost of living emerging as the most important to voters.

More than one-quarter of people identifed cost of living as their main concern followed by energy prices and housing affordabilty.

The environment was ahead of hospitals, schools and transport, according to the poll.

The polling also shows that the Coalition and Labor are neck and neck six months out from the state election, with Opposition leader Luke Foley edging ahead of Ms Berejiklian as preferred premier.

The weekend marked six months until the March poll, which is looking increasingly likely to result in a hung parliament. The government has only a six seat majority.

The polling shows the fallout from the bruising leadership spill in Canberra has had an impact in NSW, with 40.4 per cent of voters saying the change in prime minister had altered their view of the state Liberal Party.

The Coalition’s primary vote has slumped to 35.1 per cent, down from 41.9 per cent in March.

Labor’s primary vote has also taken a dip to 31.5 per cent from 32.5 per cent six months ago, the polling shows.

Mr Foley has pushed past Ms Berejiklian as the more popular leader, with 50.2 per cent of voters polled believing Mr Foley would make a better premier.

But despite Mr Foley’s personal standing, only 41.1 per cent of voters think Labor is ready to govern again.

Is Canada a viable option for applicants struggling to get PR in Australia?


Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to get Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia. But can immigration to Canada be an option for these applicants?

If you are a skilled worker with the right experience, skills and background, you may be able to make Canada your permanent home through its Express Entry Program.

Like Australia, Canada’s skilled migration program is also a points-based system which is designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet its skills needs.

Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to salvage their dream of becoming Australian permanent residents*.

Migration experts believe the ‘visa changes’ have adversely affected the chances of these applicants in the skilled visa categories.

Many applicants who are struggling to meet the desired standards for PR in Australia now aim to move to Canada. But is Canada a viable option for these applicants?

A migration agent in Melbourne says many of his clients are worried due to these changes.

“The visa sector has seen huge changes in the last two years. Some of our clients are now extremely distressed about their prospects in Australia and aim to apply for Canada in high hopes,” he told .

“We’ve seen an impact due to the changes to the skilled occupation lists and state nomination criteria. Some applicants also had their hopes shattered due to the abolition of 457 visas and more recently, due to an increase in points threshold from 60 to 65 for skilled visas.”

He suggested that Canada’s skilled migration program is quite similar to Australia.

“There is not much difference in terms of the point system designed for various skill subsets, job experience and the English language capacity of the prospective applicant,” he says.

“But there are certain occupations that are in high demand where applicants can or may benefit from Canada’s Express Entry program.

“For an example, the transport industry is in a booming stage in Canada so potentially experienced truck drivers should explore this promising opportunity.”

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration
New Minster for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge has outlined his plan for immigration policy which focuses on a ‘bigger Australia’ with more decentralised population areas.

‘My view has always been that Australia can be a bigger country. But ideally you have a broader distribution rather than very rapid growth in some areas,’ Mr Tudge told.

New Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Tudge are shifting the focus away from reductions to immigrant numbers and towards a redistribution of where they are settled.

Mr Tudge has said that he is in favour of population growth, however, the areas where new immigrants are settled must be broader and not focused in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne

‘I’m not suggesting that for a second that it’s migrants’ fault – not at all,’ he said.

‘If you’ve got regions that can’t find workers and smaller states that want more people, then the immigration program is something that should be looked at.’

He did, however, not comment on a specific plan that would require new migrants to settle in regional areas for five years as a condition of their visas.

A decision on the time period for mandatory settlement was due to go to the Turnbull cabinet last week, but the leadership spill put that discussion on hold, The Australian reported on Wednesday.

The proposal has yet to be put to Scott Morrison’s new cabinet, and the prime minister’s office would not comment on the development of the policy.

It is understood a new visa class would apply to the skilled and family migration program but could also apply to refugees.

Almost 90 per cent of new migrants are settling in metropolitan areas such as Melbourne and Sydney.

A population package put before Government before last week’s leadership spill included the proposal for new migrants to be settled in regional areas for a period of up to five years – after this migrants could choose to relocate.

The newly appointed PM has created a separate portfolio of population to be lead by former Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge.

Department of Home Affairs figures revealed by The Australian showed that of the 112,000 skilled migrants that arrived in the country over the previous financial year, 87 per cent settled permanently in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Tudge has previously said that the number of incoming migrants was not the only factor in growing population pressures, but rather where these migrants were settling and the distribution being focused in major cities.

‘If the population was distributed more evenly, there would not be the congestion pressures that we have today in Melbourne and Sydney,’ Mr Tudge told a forum in Melbourne.

‘Nor would there be if the ­infrastructure was built ahead of demand,’ he said.