WORLD Australia's new migrant restrictions


Australia's new migrant restrictions


03:06, October 20, 2018


(Photo: CGTN)

Australia's government wants to restrict many new migrants from living in the country's largest cities in an effort to help alleviate urban congestion.

"The opportunity is to get a more even distribution of that growth which supports those smaller states and supports those regions that are looking for more people and in the process taking a bit of pressure off the big cities of Melbourne, Sydney and south east Queensland," said Australian Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge.

"And one of the ways we can do this is through directing new migrants to smaller states or regions. Now matching the skills of new migrants with the skills shortages in rural and regional Australia will be the key to the success of this approach."

The government plans to do that by restricting skilled migrants, who account about 40 percent of all new migrants, from living in the major cities for up to five years.

"To ensure that we can direct and encourage those who are coming to the country initially on a temporary basis and through those non-permanent visas," said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

"To be able to go where there is a need for this labor, where there is a need for population growth and where there is a receptivity to it. I mean, this is about actually trying to support on the ground the economic and population policies of local communities. It's about working hand in glove with those communities and following their lead and backing them in on the programs that they have."

The government says its major cities are among the fastest growing in the world, the result of unplanned population growth as an increasing number of migrants flock to major metropolitan centers.

"It's not just congestion on the roads, it's also accessing services, congestion in schools, I mean, that is another big topic of conversation in Sydney for example, then there are all of the other public services that you might expect, healthcare and so on," said Laurence Troy, who works in the City Future's Research Center at the University of New South Wales. 

"Cities are complex beasts and addressing the issues of growth and the problems that it causes is really about how we plan cities and we really haven't done that particularly well over the last couple of decades."

Some critics of the plan say it is too vague and raises more questions than answers.

"Are the jobs going to be there, is the infrastructure going to be there? Is there going to be incentive for people to move there or will it be if you come to Australia you have to live in the countryside for five years? What does that do for skilled migration when there might actually be a need in those cities?," said Stewart Jackson, a lecturer at University of Sydney.

The government hasn't provided details on how the plan will be enforced but did say that it will likely include incentives for migrants.

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