Australia planning to force new migrants live in rural areas

Published: October 09, 2018 20:32:56 | Updated: October 10, 2018 13:18:11


The Australian government has unveiled a proposal to force new migrants to live outside Sydney and Melbourne.

The policy would aim to ease congestion in Australia's two biggest cities while boosting regional areas, Population Minister Alan Tudge said on Tuesday.

The government may introduce visa conditions to limit where some migrants live for up to five years, he said.

However, some experts have questioned whether the idea is enforceable and likely to achieve its goals.

Currently, about two-fifths of Australia's 25 million people live in Sydney and Melbourne, reports BBC.

Though Australia's population growth rate ranks 77th globally, according to the World Bank, it is high among OECD nations - rising by 1.6 per cent last year.

The growth has been driven largely by migration, with most people settling in Melbourne, Sydney and south-east Queensland, according to the government.

That has contributed to infrastructure and congestion problems, with Melbourne and Sydney each expected to exceed eight million residents by 2030.

"Settling even a slightly larger number of new migrants to the smaller states and regions can take significant pressure off our big cities," Mr Tudge said in a speech on Tuesday.

The proposal is not detailed at this stage, but such visas could carry a "geographical requirement... for at least a few years".

Other incentives would also be offered, Mr Tudge said, in the hope that migrants would remain in regional areas permanently.

Such visa restrictions would not extend to migrants on family reunion or employer-sponsored visas, he said.

The Labor opposition said the idea should be considered, but raised concerns about its lack of detail.

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