Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne have long been popular destinations for locals and expats alike. Not unsurprisingly, these sort after locations are beginning to buckle under the pressure, with housing, schools, healthcare and public transport struggling to take the strain of the growing population. Meanwhile, many other areas of the country are suffering from population decline.
Statistics issued from the Department of Immigration have shed light on some of the possible reasons, showing that one in ten people entering Australia relocate to a city within a period of 18 months and last year saw Sydney and Melbourne become home for 87% of Australia’s skilled migrants.
Therefore, it would appear that one of the biggest factors contributing to this surging population growth is more than likely as a result of the high volume of immigrants choosing to live in these desirable cities.
In a bid to tackle the population imbalance seen across the country and the challenges facing overpopulated cities like Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian government have announced plans to reduce the number of new migrants in these areas.
The proposed changes to immigration policy would include new rules and restrictions to where new migrants can settle. However, this would likely not apply to the 50% of migrants who fall under the category of employer-sponsored visas which would dictate the required location.
For others, the potential new visa conditions would likely include the allocation to smaller, less populated towns and cities for a five year period before migrants are permitted to move to larger cities. However, which cities will be included in the new scheme, has not yet been made clear.
What is certain is that any changes to existing regional visas would need to offer the right incentives to ensure living in regional areas is an attractive prospect for migrants. The details are still being reviewed but a point-based system to fast-track temporary workers choosing to settle outside of the main cities has been discussed.
Whatever the Australian government ultimately decide upon is expected to take effect at some point next year.