Australia has announced the introduction of Regional Visas to ease the congestion off its major cities. These new Visas aim to increase migration to the regional areas of Australia. Visa holders would need to complete a mandatory stay of 3 years in a regional area to be eligible for Permanent Residency.
Australian PM, Scott Morrison has announced that the annual immigration intake has been reduced to 160,000. The Govt. will reserve 23,000 visa spots for the new Regional Visas.
The Australian Govt. will also encourage international students to take up courses in regional areas of Australia. In a bid to attract more foreign students to regional Universities, Australia has announced 1000 scholarships of $15,000 each. These scholarships would be available to both domestic as well as international students willing to study in regional Universities. Another added bonus is that international students will get an extra year on their Post-Study Work Permit.
Population Minister, Alan Tudge, said that measures are being taken to ease the congestion in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. The combined effect of reducing immigration levels, regional visas, and encouraging students to study at regional universities will definitely help achieve the same.
Mr Tudge also said that Regional Visa holders will need to meet the 3-year requirement. The Govt. will verify the same through ATO that the visa holder was actually employed there. The Visa holder will also need to submit evidence like electricity bills for those 3 years to prove that they have been residing in the regional area. Anyone who breaches the 3-year condition will not be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.
Regional pathways, currently, require a minimum stay of 2 years to obtain Permanent Residence. However, the new announcement will add another year to it.
The number of visa places in the RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) has been increased from 6,000 to 9,000. The number of visa places for state and territory sponsored visas has been increased from 8,500 to 14,000, as per SBS News.
These visa holders will be prioritized and will have access to more occupations for Permanent Residence.
David Coleman, Immigration Minister, clarified that Regional Visa holders would be able to move between different regions. However, they will need to work outside Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Gold Coast. In case they relocate from regional areas, they risk having their visa cancelled. The Govt. will set aside an extra $7 million to ensure visa holders comply with the requirements.
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