Migrant experts back plan to settle ‘regional’ Australia
MOVES by the Morrison Government to encourage more immigrants to settle in smaller states have won praise from migration experts.
But attempts to legally "bind" some migrants to living in particular regions for a minimum period of time could end up being stalled in the Senate in the lead up to the federal election.
Adelaide migration agent Mark Glazbrook praised the Federal Government's willingness to look at options for using the migration system to help fill skills gaps in regional areas.
"The government's not forcing people to live in regional areas. They're looking at identifying the unmet demand for labour in regional areas and then trying to develop an immigration program which aligns to those demands,'' Mr Glazbrook said.
The migration industry is hopeful that new regional migration agreements for areas which need more workers can be introduced without changes to the Migration Act.
Immigration officials told a recent Senate committee that laws prevented them from forcing permanent residents to live in particular regions.
Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said the government needed to explain how any changes would work and what benefit they would deliver.
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick said his party would be willing to consider changes to the Migration Act which required some immigrants to initially live in regional areas.