Immigration

Why can’t regional Australia attract overseas migrants?

A parliamentary inquiry will examine how regions can attract more skilled migrants away from the big cities. Source: Getty

A parliamentary inquiry will examine why regional Australia has attracted less than 20 per cent of overseas arrivals.

Concerns about regional Australia's failure to attract more migrants to settle outside of major cities has sparked a parliamentary inquiry. 

The joint standing committee on migration will examine migrant settlement strategies and migrations settings in regional Australia. 

Committee chair Julian Leeser said 187,000 international migrants settled in regional areas between 2006 and 2011 which equated to one in five of the total number of arrivals in that period.

"What we know is that some areas of Australia are having success attracting new migrants, while other areas are struggling to both attract and retain migrants and address skill shortages," Mr Leeser said.

The Federal Member for Berowra, Mr Julian Leeser
Liberal MP Julian Leeser wants to understand how regions can attract more migrants.
courtesy

The Liberal MP said the committee would travel across the country to find out what can be done to increase the number of migrants moving to regional areas. 

"The answers to how to attract new settlers won’t be found in our big cities – so we’re going to travel to areas there migration settlement is and isn’t working, and talk to the people best placed to know why and why not," Mr Leeser said.

The launch of the inquiry follows the release of an audit by Infrastructure Australia which found congestion in major cities was costing $19 billion a year.

The report urged the government to pump $40 billion a year into infrastructure to keep up with the growing population. 

A major driver of Australia's above average population growth is net overseas arrivals - a combination of permanent and temporary visa holders such as international students. 

New Law
Four out of five migrants choose to live in a major city.
AAP

Earlier this year, the government announced a reduction in the cap on Australia's permanent migration intake from 190,000 to 160,000.

Despite the cut, population projections in April's budget were revised upwards, reflecting a predicted surge in temporary arrivals, putting pressure on city services. 

The government has also introduced incentives for international students and skilled workers to move to the region.  

The committee is calling for submissions which will be accepted until 20 September. 

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