Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Australia mulls banning some immigrants from biggest cities

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Deanna Wagner | 10 October, 2018, 19:48

The visas will require migrants to live outside the cities for up to five years, using a "combination of encouragement and some conditions", Mr Tudge told ABC Radio ahead of the speech.

Thousands of new migrants could soon be banned from living in some of the country's busiest cities under a new plan by the Federal Government.

Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce.

Tudge said Australia's rapidly increasing population is "a serious problem", after Melbourne grew by 2.7 per cent past year alone, Sydney by 2.1 per cent and South East Queensland by 2.3 per cent. Around 2 in every 5 Australians live in Sydney and Melbourne alone. "We haven't announced all of the details of exactly how to do that, but it's reasonably straightforward", Mr Tudge said.

Australia has the fastest population growth of any advanced Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development country other than Canada, growing 1.6% a year.

Overseas migration accounts for 60 per cent of Australia's population growth, with nearly 90 per cent of skilled workers gravitating to Melbourne and Sydney, as well as almost all of the humanitarian intake.

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Growth in the Brisbane-Gold Coast region reflected higher levels of population shift within Australia and a higher birthrate.

He added that these steps may especially affect those who are not sponsored to work in one of the major cities by an employer, or are granted visas to join their families.

The restrictions would only apply to about 45% of new migrants, because 25% are sponsored by specific employers and another 30% are tied to family reunions.

Labor says the Government's suggestion is a thought bubble but they are not ruling out supporting the measure.

Carla Wilshire, another immigrant advocate and chief executive of Migrant Council Australia in Canberra, suggested that government invest in services outside Sydney and Melbourne to make smaller towns more attractive to immigrants.

The most common issues leading to deportation had to do with visas with people either overstaying their visa or having their visa cancelled making up the majority of cases.