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Migrant visas fast-tracked for regional Australia in $19 million plan

Departure stamp on the inside page of a passport. Source: Getty Images

Skilled migrants who are willing to live in regional Australia will have their visas fast-tracked under a $19.4 million plan set to be announced on Friday.

Skilled migrants will have their visa applications accelerated if they move to regional Australia, under a $19.4 million plan to be revealed by the federal government.

Immigration Minister David Coleman will on Friday announce the plan as state and territory treasurers meet in Canberra to discuss population growth and congestion issues. 

The money will be used over four years and Department of Home Affairs officials will travel to regional areas to help local businesses get more skilled workers.

Under the plan, there will be priority processing for visas sponsored by employers in regional areas, as well as agreements where local councils are able to recruit workers from overseas.

"Our officers will be on the ground to discuss regional migration opportunities with regional employers and communities, and also to hear first hand the local labour issues they face," Mr Coleman said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously flagged migrants could be asked to spend five years in a regional area if they want permanent residency.

Morrison has also flagged cuts to Australia's annual migration intake to ease congestion in major cities. 

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