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'Design of regional visas is unnecessarily complex' says former Immigration official

Source: AAP

Former Deputy Secretary in the Department of Immigration Abul Rizvi says he finds it disappointing that there are no actual recommendations after the suspension of the Inquiry into Migration in Regional Australia.

The Inquiry into Migration in Regional Australia has been suspended after the Joint Standing Committee on Migration decided the situation on the ground has changed in the post-COVID scenario.

However, the committee has made some observations about the issues faced by regional Australia.


  • The inquiry was set up in August last year to examine why regional Australia had attracted fewer migrants.
  • The committed has tabled a short report in parliament with some observations but no recommendations.
  • Australia is expecting to record a significant drop in net migration levels due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Abul Rizvi says the report makes some good points about the issues facing regional Australia and the concerns about the current arrangements in terms of visas for regional Australia.

یکی از مناطق ریجنال نیوساوت ولز

"It was disappointing that there are no actual recommendations because I think the urgency of issues facing reason Australian significant and a deserving of some genuine action," says Mr Rizvi.

Listen to the full interview with Abul Rizvi:

'Design of regional visas is unnecessarily complex' says former Immigration official
00:00 00:00

The parliamentary inquiry was set up in August last year to examine why regional Australia had attracted less than 20 per cent of overseas arrivals.

The committee has submitted its report without any conclusion or recommendations.

Abul Rizvi, Migration Law Expert
Abul Rizvi, Migration Law Expert

Chairperson of the committee Mr Julian Leeser says the situation has changed now.

"We decided to suspend the inquiry because the economic situation in Australia is changed and as a result of it too that some of the settings and things that we were looking at previously may not exist for the foreseeable future the relevant."

Listen to what Julian Leeser says about the inquiry:

'We are making it too difficult to employ migrants in regional Australia', says chair of Joint Standing Committee on Migration
00:00 00:00

Abul Rizvi, on the other hand, believes that the issues Regional Australia faces at this juncture are critical and need immediate attention.

"I think there are a few points I would make about the current situation. The first is I think that the design of the visas that have been set up to assist regional Australia are just unnecessarily complex and that is creating a problem," he said.

"The second challenge that arises is that a number of visas are capped that is there are limitations on the number there are issued in any particular state or region. That doesn't make a lot of sense given the priority the government says it has for reaching Australia."

Getty Images

Mr Rizvi also highlights the problem of long processing times and says faster processing times are essential to remaining competitive in this space.

"There is a serious issue in terms of a level resource devoted to actual visa processing as a result of which there are very long processing times and long processing times for businesses and for skilled migrants have serious negative implications.

"They create cost delay and risk of people with critical skills not coming to Australia," he said.

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