Prioritising Regional Visas

On Tuesday 26 August 2018, Hon David Coleman was sworn in by the Governor-General as Australia’s new Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

In a recent interview, Mr Coleman told SBS News of his plans to get migrants to struggling regional communities and advised SBS that regional visas will be given a priority under his portfolio.

“That’s something I’m looking at very closely at the moment,”

Mr Coleman told SBS Punjabi on Wednesday.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs plans to assess the effectiveness of the regional visa programs currently in place and potential ways of improving them. The incentive comes as Sydney and Melbourne feel the strain of the rising population in major cities, 87% of skilled migrants move to Melbourne or Sydney. According to statistics published by the Department of Human Affairs, approximately of the 183,608 thousand migrants entering Australia last year, nearly 12,000 filled skilled regional places, making up about 6% of total intake.

The government says it’s concerned that too many migrants are using regional visas as tickets to permanent residency, leaving prematurely once PR is secured then, moving to major cities. This ultimately goes against the spirit of what the permanent residency regional visa is there to do.

Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme (RSMS)

There will be a greater focus on RSMS. The RSMS visa allows employers to nominate overseas skilled workers for permanent residency under the Subclass 187. Unlike the skilled visas, the subclass 187 is not a points-based visa instead, it is designed to fill genuine employment gaps in regional communities. The 187 regional Visa does not include major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, as its purpose is to support regional employers genuinely in need of full-time paid workers, in which full-time vacancy should be available for at least 2 years.

An expanded Regional Occupation List (ROL)

This list includes occupation that are in high demand in regional locations. This list updated regularly. the government may choose to expand this list to encourage skilled migrants to remain in regional areas.

Mandatory settlement

In August this year, a proposal to introduce a mandatory regional settlement plan for some migrants was reported to be in consideration by the Morrison Cabinet. The logic behind the 5-year mandatory settlement in regional areas is to ensure skilled regional migrant has spent the 5-year period in an area they are likely to continue to stay after having established ties with the community, their employment etc.

With regards to Australian citizenship, the Minister has not gone into specifics about the government reviving plans to change the requirements to become citizens.

Find our more about the RSMS Visa Subclass 187

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