Regional Australia is experiencing a range of economic and social trends that are challenging the ability of many communities to adapt.
In response to these challenges, Australian governments at the national, state and territory and local levels have developed a range of programs attempting to help drive economic prosperity in the regions. At the national level, the Australian Government maintains various policy initiatives and incentives that are intended to encourage people to relocate to regional areas and to offset some of the economic pressures impacting those communities.
The stated goal of interventions in the migration program is to attract young, skilled, English speaking migrants to areas of Australia where they are most needed.
The extent to which these interventions actually facilitate long-term regional retention remains unclear.
Yet, it is the longer-term settlement and retention of migrants that is currently seen as providing the best opportunity for regional Australia to benefit from the skills, experience and competitive qualifications that migrants bring to the workforce and to the receiving community.
Greater attention may therefore need to be placed not only on attracting migrants to regional areas, but also on facilitating their retention in those areas over the long-term.
There are also a range of broader issues that must be understood in order to gain a more complete picture of the dynamics of internal migration and regional retention.
To that end, Part 1 of this report seeks to situate the academic discourse on the retention of migrants into a broader framework that takes different fields of study into account. In particular,it attempts to show how areas of academic research and practice not traditionally linked with regional retention, including international migration and refugee settlement, are highly relevant to questions about internal migration. Part 2 moves to an examination of the more 'micro-level'literature on the retention of migrants. It surveys the literature on migrant retention to identify the factors commonly highlighted as being essential to long-term retention, with a view to identifying the areas in which further policy development could lead to better regional development