The push for new migrants to settle in regional Australia

View of pier in tasmania

Intense public debate in recent months about congested roads, pressure on public services and rising living costs in our capital cities has prompted the Australian Government to consider ways to manage population growth. One option being floated is to push for new migrants to settle in regional Australia instead of our densely populated capital cities. Let’s look at what is behind this idea and the advantages of settling in regional areas.

Huge population surge in cities

One of the main reasons the government is looking to encourage new migrants to move to regional Australia is because of the uneven settlement patterns resulting in more than 85% of recent migrants settling in capital cities. This is driving population increases in cities and many argue that this is putting considerable strain on already congested roads, public services and leading to unsustainable rises in property prices. Forcing new migrants to move to regional Australia and requiring them to remain in those regions for a certain period of time could potentially fix some of these problems facing our cities.

Regional areas struggling to attract skilled labour

For years, many of the most skilled and talented people from regional Australia have relocated to capital cities for better educational and employment opportunities. This is compounded by the fact that only 6% of skilled migrants settled in regional areas, according to figures from the Department of Home Affairs. In many regional areas, there are jobs that remained unfilled and towns where the population is shrinking. An influx of skilled migrants could boost the economy of regional Australia and revive population growth in these areas.

Lifestyle in regional areas

Settling in regional Australia has many benefits for new migrants. The fast pace and living costs of capital cities can be make life particularly hard and a burden for new migrants. In regional areas, property prices are more affordable, roads are less congested, infrastructure is unstrained, there is an abundance of space and the air is cleaner. Many regional areas are within reasonable distance of capital cities, which can be accessed by road, train or air. It would be an ideal place to raise a family.

Possible incentives for new migrants

The government is considering a plan to provide some incentives for new migrants to move to regional Australia. At this stage, it’s too early to speculate as to what these incentives might be.  However, any plan to attract migrants in large numbers to regional areas would have to include financial incentives such as concessions or allowances or an easier pathway to obtaining permanent residency in Australia. In addition, the government may have to consider introducing programs to assist settlement in regional areas such as employment initiatives, affordable housing, social services and community support.  

Regional visas

Currently, there are several regional visa options including the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa and the Skilled Regional Provisional subclass 489 visa. If migrating to regional Australia interests you and you’d like to know if there are any suitable immigration options, contact Titan Migration on