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  • Minister for Immigration David Coleman speaks to SBS. (SBS)
In an exclusive interview with SBS Punjabi, Australia’s Immigration Minister David Coleman says immigration numbers are not matching with the regional needs.
Avneet Arora, Presented by
MP Singh

26 Sep 2018 - 5:44 PM  UPDATED 26 Sep 2018 - 9:55 PM

Immigration Minister David Coleman says the current pattern of immigration is not matching with the burgeoning needs of the regional areas.

“There isn’t a match between the regional needs and regional level of migration and that is something that I am looking at very closely at the moment,” Mr Coleman told SBS Punjabi.

Towns including Warrnambool in Victoria, the Goldfields region of Western Australia and the entire state of South Australia are desperate for migrants, claimed Mr Coleman.

“South Australia would like to have an addition of 15,000 immigrants per year to address their school shortages and to address issues related to their economic growth.”

Many SBS Punjabi listeners have shared their experiences of living in the regional areas for over a year and still not being able to procure a job.

When asked if regional areas had sufficient job opportunities, Mr Coleman said: “There are significant opportunities that are not being fulfilled and I want to ensure the immigration system helps to fill those opportunities.”

On the issue of citizen application backlog which has spiralled to more 200,000 applicants waiting for their approval, Mr Coleman said 150 additional staff would be put on the job to process the applications this year.  

He said increased security assessment and limited documentation submitted by some applicants were major reasons behind the delay in approving applications.

“It is obviously very important that before someone is granted citizenship, we have to carefully assess all relevant security issues and that has added some time to the process.”

“There’s also an issue related to more people with limited documentation applying for citizenship which can mean it takes longer to process those applications.”

The minister said that the story of Australia’s immigration is a positive one that needs to be told and shared.

“There are 1.4 million people in Australia who are employed by immigrants and so immigration is very positive for the country.”

“I want to ensure that our citizenship procedures and policies reflect the remarkable nature of Australia and the great opportunities of citizenship and also ensure that we embrace our multicultural society,” added Mr Coleman.

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