Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced two new regional visas as part of a national population plan. The Skilled Employer Sponsored and Skilled Work regional visas require workers to live outside major cities for three years before they can apply for permanent residency. Morrison said the new visas would benefit communities “looking for more people to come and settle in their districts, to fill jobs, inject more life into their towns, and shore up the important education and health services for the future”.
However, newly released statistics on regional population growth in Australia in 2017-18 show current growth is heavily concentrated in the capitals. People clearly prefer to settle in these cities. So how can migration to the less favoured regional centres be made to work?