More skilled migrants will be coming to South Australia under changes to the regional migration program coming into effect next month. Despite the federal cut to overall migration levels, new figures show a boom in the number of skilled migrants moving to the state to fill an acute skills shortage.
When Pakistani migrant Ishtiaq Ahmed was considering a destination to call home for his young family in Australia, Adelaide was at the top of his list.
The 32-year-old mechanical engineer moved in 2017 with his wife and children, soon finding work in his chosen professional field.
As the federal government moves to limit migration to the major population centres of Melbourne and Sydney, Mr Ahmed is far from alone in looking to South Australia.
New Regional Visas more than doubled nationally in the last quarter compared to the same time in 2018.
In Queensland, the growth was faster than the national rate.
But the most visas were granted in South Australia - far outstripping New South Wales and Victoria.
The federal government’s changes to the skilled migration program ((Nov)) will make it harder for skilled migrants to move to the major cities and easier for those willing to go to regional areas.
All of South Australia, including the capital, Adelaide, has been classified for this purpose by the federal government as regional.
The new regional visas will require migrants to live and work in the regions for up to three years if they want to gain permanent residency in Australia.
Bob Birrell, President of the Australian Population Research Institute, questions the long-term effectiveness of the strategy.