New visas to encourage migrants into regional jobs

By Country News

Migrants willing to live in regional Australia will have access to two new skilled provisional visas.

Victorian senator and Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the visas would help fill vacant jobs in regional businesses and provide incentives for skilled migrants to settle in regional areas.

“Our first priority is always to fill jobs in Victoria with locals or other Australian workers, but the immigration system can play a role in helping to address our skills gaps and grow our economy,” Senator McKenzie said.

“By requiring migrants to live and work in regional areas for at least three years we are encouraging them to put down roots, become part of our community and stay longer term.”

Successful visa applicants will become eligible to apply for permanent residency if they can demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia for three years.

Migrant Services Minister David Coleman said applicants for the two new visas would receive priority processing and have access to a wider range of jobs than those applying to migrate to major cities.

The two new skilled regional provisional visas are:

●Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa — for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.

●Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa — for people who are nominated by a state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.

The new visas build on the Federal Government's regional migration initiatives to increase the number of regional visas granted.

The cap on Australia’s permanent migration program has reduced from 190 000 to 160 000 this year and the number of places allocated to regional visas has increased to 25 000.

From now on, all of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are classified as regional for migration purposes.

Seven Designated Area Migration Agreements have been signed with regions around the country to address their specific skilled migration needs.

A team of regional outreach officers have been deployed to promote skilled migration initiatives and provide dedicated support to regional employers in attracting skilled migrants.

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