Australia Considering Sending Immigrants to Smaller Cities


Australia is considering sending a significant number of immigrants into smaller cities to control the burgeoning population in big cities like Sydney, Melbourne and South East Queensland.

Alan Tudge, Australian Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population said that to decongest top cities and boost infrastructure in the country, a balanced growth of population is crucial and therefore, the government will try to direct the migrants into smaller cities with less population and more employment opportunities for immigrants.

Citing rapid growth of population, the minister said that the migration has almost doubled from 100,000 every year to 200,000 in the last two decades. While the overall population of Australia has been growing at the rapid rate of 1.6 percent per annum, the three large cities have grown faster. Last year Melbourne grew by 2.7 percent, Sydney by 2.1 percent and South East Queensland by 2.3 percent.

According to a new policy under consideration, immigrants arriving in Australia on a regional-sponsored visa would have to live in regional or rural Australia, instead of big cities like Sydney or Melbourne, the Daily Telegraph said in its report.

Just last year, Australia granted162,000 permanent visas to immigrants. The surge in temporary visas have also been noticeable, from 20,000 each year to 70,000, Tudge said adding while a larger population can contribute to the economy, one way to deal with over-population growth is to limit immigration to over-crowded cities.

“We are working on measures to have more new arrivals go to the smaller states and regions and require them to be there for at least a few years,” the minister said. By directing new migrants to smaller states or regions and matching the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia, the government can “get a more even distribution of growth across the country to support the smaller states and regions, while taking pressure off Melbourne, Sydney and South East Queensland,” the minister said.

Currently, the biggest immigration source in Australia hail from China and India overtaking the United Kingdom and New Zealand while the overall population has grown by 3.75 million, which is nearly two times higher than the previous decade.

Earlier this year, Australian First Secretary David Wilden had said that the government is looking into ways to bind people to a regional area.

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