Australia rejects visa-free immigration deal with UK

Canadians advocating for a FTA with a post-Brexit UK should note. In any case, UK will most likely be fixated on addressing all the issues related to the EU to devote much serious time to other countries:

The Australian government has turned down the UK’s offer of a post-Brexit trade agreement that included visa-free work and travel between the two countries.

Trade minister Simon Birmingham said full free movement would not be accepted because it could cause an exodus of highly trained workers to the UK and an influx of unskilled British workers to Sydney and Melbourne. Last year, ministers in New Zealand voiced similar fears of a brain drain.

Last September, international trade secretary Liz Truss, on a visit to Australia, announced that a plan to allow British citizens to live and work in the country visa-free could be just months away.

She said: “We’ve been clear on the fact we want to adopt the Australian-based points system in terms of our new immigration system as we leave the European Union… our two countries have a special link and a historic relationship, and it’s certainly something that we will be looking at as part of our free-trade negotiations.”

But even then, Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison, said the visa-free arrangement with New Zealand was not something that would be extended to other countries.

Birmingham said yesterday: “Negotiations for an FTA [free trade agreement] between Australia and the UK will prioritise enhancing trade with a market that is already our eighth-largest trading partner.

“Work and visa settings may also form part of discussions but it is important to appreciate that there is a huge spectrum of grey between the black and white of no movement or unfettered movement.

“Once talks are launched with the UK we will work through all of these issues in the usual way,” he said.

Under existing arrangements, Australians can visit the UK for six months as a tourist without a visa.

A visa, however, is required to do paid or unpaid work for those born after 1983 and don’t have a parent who is a UK citizen (or was a UK citizen at the time of the traveller’s birth).

Chetal Patel, partner at City law firm Bates Wells, said the rejection of the UK proposal was a setback for the UK government: “Although bilateral trade discussions are ongoing, the news that the Australian government has rejected a visa-free arrangement serves as another stark reminder of the challenges the UK faces post-Brexit. It’s also a significant rebuke for the new administration considering the introduction of visa-free arrangements seemed to be almost a foregone conclusion just a few weeks ago.

“Surely work visas and other visas should be decided separately from the UK’s trade negotiations?

“This development ultimately begs several questions. What kind of approach will the government take in negotiations with other states given that the Home Office may now be completely restructured? Is the liberalisation of free movement as previously mooted by Boris Johnson and free marketeers going to be the guiding principle of immigration policy? Or does this episode suggest that preferential arrangements with certain other nation states will no longer be pursued?”

Patel said it would be interesting to see the impact of the Morrison government decision on the Australian-style immigration points based system to be implemented in the UK. “We’re expecting the Migration Advisory Committee’s report to be published at the end of this month, so we may know more about what’s in store very shortly,” she said.

About 120,000 people born in Australia are UK residents, with the largest concentration being in south-west London. About 2,000 Australians work in the NHS.

Source: Australia rejects visa-free immigration deal with UK

ICYMI: Australia – Revoke automatic citizenship loss laws, intelligence committee urges

Under citizenship laws, any dual citizen aged over 14 automatically renounces their Australian citizenship if they act “inconsistently with their allegiance to Australia” by engaging in terrorist acts.

As of February, 12 people have lost their citizenship in this way.

But government departments and legal experts alike have criticised the automatic nature of the laws.

Dr Sangeetha Pillai and Professor George Williams have said automatic revocation was not only impractical, but potentially unconstitutional.

The Department of Home Affairs said the automatic loss of citizenship limited Australia’s ability to prosecute those individuals for their crimes.

The government had moved to change the laws, after the Independent Monitor of National Security legislation James Renwick called for the automatic provisions to be replaced with ministerial discretion.

Now the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security – led by Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie – has agreed a ministerial decision-making model would be better.

The committee found as the law current works, the minister’s role is effectively limited to restoring a person’s citizenship after it has been lost or exempting a person from the automatic provisions.

A ministerial decision-making model would allow the minister to take into account a broader range of considerations in determining whether to cease an individual’s citizenship, the committee said.

“This determination was founded on advice from national security agencies, which advised the committee that further flexibility was required to utilise citizenship cessation to maximum effect,” the report said.

However such a model is not foolproof.

Australia became embroiled in a diplomatic stoush with Fiji in January after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton stripped Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship on the understanding he also held citizenship in Fiji. Fiji denied he was a citizen and Prakash has effectively been left stateless.

The recommendation came as separate laws passed parliament that would make it tougher for terrorists to get bail.

The bill also closed a loophole that could have prevented some high-risk terrorists from being kept in custody after their sentences expired on continuing detention orders.

It also came as counter terrorism police arrested an alleged terrorist in Sydney on Wednesday.

Source: Revoke automatic citizenship loss laws, intelligence committee urges

Indigenous citizenship test: lawyers argue up to a third of Australians at risk of deportation

Weird case and arguments. Unlikely that this would happen in Canada but if anyone knows  of any comparable Canadian cases, would be of interest:

Indigenous Australians’ connection to the land is “important but not equivalent” to allegiance to Australia, the commonwealth has argued in a landmark case fighting for the right to deport two Aboriginal non-citizens.

Lawyers for the two Indigenous men, backed up by the state of Victoria, are arguing the Australian government cannot deport Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders even though they don’t hold Australian citizenship because the constitutional definition of “alien” can’t be set by the government of the day through citizenship law.

The plaintiffs, Daniel Love and Brendan Thoms, were born in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, each with one Aboriginal parent, and face deportation due to laws which allow the cancellation of visas on character grounds. Their fight to stay now hinges on a special case arguing that although they are non-citizens, they are also not aliens.

At a hearing on Thursday, counsel for the two men, Stephen Keim, argued that the high court’s second Mabo decision contained an “understanding of the history of European settlement and imposition of the sovereignty of the crown” which should guide the common law in the way it deals with “a multiplicity of legal issues” beyond native title, such as citizenship.

Chief justice Susan Kiefel suggested that Victoria’s submissions had taken the court into the territory of “Mabo No 3” – a “much wider proposition” that could have implications in many other areas of law.

Keim submitted on behalf of the plaintiffs that Aboriginal people are “permanent Australian nationals and not aliens in Australia” unless they abandon that status.

Source: Indigenous citizenship test: lawyers argue up to a third of Australians at risk of deportation

Suddenly, the Chinese Threat to Australia Seems Very Real

Australia has always been the cautionary tale for Canada and others, with comparable challenges:

A Chinese defector to Australia who detailed political interference by Beijing. A businessman found dead after telling the authorities about a Chinese plot to install him in Parliament. Suspicious men following critics of Beijing in major Australian cities.

For a country that just wants calm commerce with China — the propellant behind 28 years of steady growth — the revelations of the past week have delivered a jolt.

Fears of Chinese interference once seemed to hover indistinctly over Australia. Now, Beijing’s political ambitions, and the espionage operations that further them, suddenly feel local, concrete and ever-present.

“It’s become the inescapable issue,” said Hugh White, a former intelligence official who teaches strategic studies at the Australian National University. “We’ve underestimated how quickly China’s power has grown along with its ambition to use that power.”

High immigration is changing the Aussie way of life

Some of the same concerns could be applied to current and planned Canadian high immigration levels:

The nation’s economic elite – politicians of all colours, businesspeople and economists – long ago decided we need to grow our population as fast as we can. To them, their reasons for believing this are so blindingly obvious they don’t need to be discussed.

Unfortunately, however, it’s doubtful most ordinary Australians agree. A survey last year by researchers at the Australian National University found that more than 69 per cent of respondents felt we didn’t need more people, well up on a similar poll in 2010.

This may explain why Scott Morrison announced before this year’s election a big cut in our permanent migrant intake – while failing to mention that our booming temporary migrant intake wouldn’t be constrained.

He also foreshadowed measures to encourage more migrants to settle in regional cities. What he didn’t say is what he’d be doing differently this time, given the many times such efforts had failed in the past.

In between scandalising over the invading hordes of boat people, John Howard greatly increased the immigration intake after the turn of the century, and this has been continued by the later Labor and Coalition governments. “Net overseas migration” accounts for about 60 per cent of our population growth.

In 2000, the Australian Bureau of Statistics projected that our population wouldn’t reach 25.4 million until 2051. We got there this year. Our population is growing much faster than other developed countries are.

The growth in our economy has been so weak over the past year that they’ve had to stop saying it, but for years our politicians boasted about how much faster our economy was growing than the other economies.

What they invariably failed to mention was that most of our faster growth was explained by our faster-growing population, not our increasing prosperity. Over the year to June, for instance, real gross domestic product grew by (a pathetic) 1.4 per cent, whereas GDP per person actually fell by 0.2 per cent.

That’s telling us that, despite the growth in the economy, on average our material standard of living is stagnant. All that immigration isn’t making the rest of us any better off in monetary terms.

Of course, that’s just a crude average. You can be sure some people are better off as a result of all the migration. Our business people have always demanded high migration because of their confidence that a bigger market allows them to make bigger profits.

Economists, on the other hand, are supposed to believe in economic growth because it makes all of us better off. They’re not supposed to believe in growth for its own sake.

This week one of the few interest groups devoted to opposing high migration, Sustainable Population Australia, issued a discussion paper that’s worth discussing. It reminds us that many of the problems we complain about are symptoms of migration.

The biggest issue is infrastructure. We need additional public infrastructure – and private business equipment and structures, and housing – to accommodate the needs of every extra person (locally born as well as immigrant) if average living standards aren’t to fall.

Taking just public infrastructure – covering roads, public transport, hospitals, schools, electricity, water and sewage, policing, law and justice, parks and open space and much more – the discussion paper estimates that every extra person requires well over $100,000 of infrastructure spending.

When governments fail to keep up with this need – as they have been, despite a surge in spending lately – congestion on roads and public transport is just the most obvious disruption we suffer.

The International Monetary Fund’s latest report on our economy says we have “a notable infrastructure gap compared to other advanced economies”. Spending is “not keeping up with population and economic growth”. We have a forecast annual gap averaging about 0.35 per cent of GDP for basic infrastructure (roads, rail, water, ports) plus a smaller gap for social infrastructure (schools, hospitals, prisons).

One factor increasing the cost of infrastructure is that about two-thirds of migrants settle in the already crowded cities of Sydney and Melbourne – each of whose populations is projected to reach 10 million in the next 50 years, with Melbourne overtaking Sydney.

According to a Productivity Commission report, “growing populations will place pressure on already strained transport systems. Yet available choices for new investments are constrained by the increasingly limited availability of unutilised land”.

New developments such as Sydney’s WestConnex have required land reclamation, costly compensation arrangements, or otherwise more expensive alternatives such as tunnels. It’s reported to cost $515 million a kilometre, with Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel costing $1.34 billion a kilometre.

Who pays for all this? We do – one way or another. “Funding will inevitably be borne by the Australian community either through user-pays fees or general taxation,” the commission says.

Combine our growing population with lower rainfall and increased evaporation from climate change and water will become a perennial problem and an ever-rising expense to householders and farmers alike.

The housing industry’s frequent failure to keep up with the demand for new homes adds to the price of housing. And the only way we’ll double the populations of Melbourne and Sydney is by moving to a lot more high-rise living.

High immigration is changing the Aussie way of life. Before long, only the rich will be able to afford a detached house with a backyard.

Source: High immigration is changing the Aussie way of life

Negative attitudes about Muslims in Australia remain high, survey finds

Good overview of the Scanlon Foundations latest annual survey:

The vast majority of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia, but a significant minority still express negativity towards Muslims, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The findings come in the 12th annual Scanlon Foundation report into social cohesion which also found a major increase in the percentage of people concerned about climate change.

The 2019 Mapping Social Cohesion survey, an annual report produced by Monash University researchers, shows support for multiculturalism remains high at 85 per cent, and over 90 per cent of respondents also said they feel a sense of belonging in Australia.

But despite the optimism about multiculturalism, ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ attitudes towards Muslims remain high with a stark contrast between respondents who were interviewed over the phone and those who self-completed an online survey.

When people were asked about negative attitudes towards different faith groups, 21 to 25 per cent of those interviewed said they held negative views about Muslims, but the rate in the self-completion survey was almost double at 40 per cent.

In 2018, asked whether they felt positive, negative or neutral towards Muslims, 23 per cent of those polled said they felt ‘very negative’ or ‘somewhat negative’, increasing to 39 per cent when answering anonymously. Results were similar in 2017.

Professor Andrew Markus from Monash University in Melbourne is the report’s author.

“The finding on Muslim Australians and that big difference was not a surprise the first time we did it. But we have now done it three times at 2017, 2018, 2019 and basically obtained the same result. So that level of difference is quite unusual,” he told SBS News.

“If I look at the self-completion survey for the other groups, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, it’s in the range of five to 10 per cent … but the Muslim figure is four times that level at 40 per cent.”

There were a total of 3,500 respondents to the survey – 1,500 via telephone interviews and 2,000 via the self-completion survey, which asks some 90 questions. All participants are anonymous.

Professor Markus said the result around attitudes towards Muslims indicated an underlying concern with some topics that people are reluctant to disclose if they are talking to an interviewer.

Increasing rates of discrimination

On the question ‘have you experienced discrimination over the last 12 months on the basis of your skin colour, ethnicity or religion?’ rates have consistently increased since the first survey in 2007 from about 10 per cent to 19 per cent in more recent surveys.

People who identify as Muslim or Hindu reported much higher rates of discrimination at 42 per cent for Muslims and 38 per cent for Hindus.

Between 2006 and 2016, the number of people identifying as Muslim in Australia increased from 340,400 to 604,200.

Mohammad Al-Khafaji, CEO of the Federation of The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, said anti-Muslim sentiment is an issue the government needs to address.

“That should be a warning sign for all of us, and especially for our political leaders, to make sure that we address this issue before it becomes a bigger problem,” he said.

“We know that there was a recent study released by the Islamophobia Register that has quantified some of those complaints and some of those attacks on people from Muslim backgrounds.

“We need to make sure that there are policies and social cohesion programs in place that facilitate a meeting between people so they understand each other’s differences, each other’s faiths, each other’s cultures.”

Climate change concern almost doubles

Since 2011, the survey has also sought to determine the issues that are of greatest concern in the community, asking the open-ended question: ‘What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?’

While concerns about the economy and unemployment have consistently topped the list, concern about environmental issues was the biggest change recorded from one year to the next, up from 10 per cent to 19 per cent in the telephone administered survey and from five per cent to 17 per cent in the self-completion survey.

Professor Markus said the movement of an issue from quite far down in the middle of the list to ranking second is unusual in the history of the survey.

He added other findings also highlight changing public perceptions about environmental issues.

“In the past, 2010 to 2011, there were a lot of people indicating that what they were concerned about was that people talking about climate change was overblown. There was too much of it, they didn’t believe it, they were sceptical,” he said.

“And 2019, almost no one is indicating that they are concerned because the issue is being overblown.”

Nearly half of those aged 18-24 reported being the most concerned about climate change, with much smaller rates seen in those over 65.

….

Immigration good for the economy

Professor Markus said the survey shows high, positive results on questions about the economic benefits of immigration and whether it is good that immigrants bring new ideas and cultures, with between 75 and 85 per cent agreeing it’s a good thing for Australia to have immigration.

But, he said, the results are less favourable on other immigration-related issues.

“When we ask people ‘do you think that the government is managing population growth well and are you concerned that immigration has got an impact of quality of life on overcrowding, on house prices, on the environment?’ … What we’re picking up is in the self-completion survey is 60 per cent or more of people are indicating concern,” he said.

The survey found concern about the level of immigration marginally declined from 43 per cent in 2018 to 41 per cent this year, with 53 per cent saying the intake is about right or too low.

The Scanlon Foundation said less concern about immigration levels has been found in three other 2019 surveys with a similarly worded question, including a Lowy Institute poll finding those of the view that the intake was ‘too high’ fell from 54 per cent in 2018 to 47 per cent this year.

Hass Dellal, the executive director of the Multicultural Foundation and the chairman of SBS, said the discussion around immigration had become better informed.

“I think there has been some excellent research, particularly the Deloitte one with SBSwhere we actually showed the economic benefits of social cohesion. I think people get a better understanding of the values of not only the economic contributions and factors around immigration but also the benefits into social cohesion,” he said.

“A lot of the media are now being able to tell the stories of families and narratives of migrants and the contributions they make. I think there is a much more informed sense of understanding of immigration and I think that helps with that acceptance.”

On the issue of happiness, 84 per cent of respondents said they had been ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’ over the past year, but there has been a steady increase in levels of pessimism since the survey began with youngest people reporting the highest rates, increasing 10 per cent since 2007.

Source: Negative attitudes about Muslims in Australia remain high, survey finds

Report: View report

It’s the climate, not immigration, that keeps Australians awake at night

Good detailed report on the latest annual survey by the Scanlon Foundation, showing some similarities with Canadian public opinion and divisions:

Something happened in 2017. Australia is second only to Canada in welcoming immigration on a large scale. Our faith in the benefits of accepting newcomers of all faiths and races is rock solid. But a couple of years ago we began to grow impatient about the government’s management of the immigration program, impatient in particular about overcrowding in our cities.

This is the verdict of the Scanlon Foundation’s 2019 Mapping Social Cohesion report, published on Tuesday. The mission of the foundation for the past decade or so has been to measure how this migrant nation hangs together. In that time an extraordinary 50,000 of us have been polled to track the hopes and fears that sweep Australia – and not just about immigration.

The author of the reports, Prof Andrew Markus of Monash University, finds most Australians now share “an underlying concern about the government not properly managing the situation – the impact on overcrowding, house prices, environment”.

But in 2019 Markus fears impatience with government management might imperil majority support for Australia’s immigration program. “This has not yet occurred, but the potential is evident.”

We are not Europe. Asked every year to name the most important problem facing their countries, Europeans have lately nominated immigration. “It’s sort of cooled down a bit now,” says Markus, “but even to the present day when people are asked what’s the main issue for the EU, they still nominate controlling population movement and immigration.”

Not in Australia. We always put the economy at the top of the list. Immigration came in fourth in 2019, nominated by 6% of us. In second place on the list, after an abrupt rise, is the environment and climate change.

Source: It’s the climate, not immigration, that keeps Australians awake at night

Far right’s poor leadership saved Australia from outbreak of populism, nationhood inquiry told

Of note. Once again, notable differences between Canadian and Australian political systems, parties and policies:

The major parties have been urged to put populist parties last on their how-to-vote cards and reject the myth of a “homogenous national identity” in submissions to the Senate nationhood inquiry.

Two academic experts, Glenn Kefford and Duncan McDonnell, have warned the inquiry that Australia may have avoided outbreaks of populism only because of poor leadership on the extreme right. Major universities have called for transparent and independent decision-making in government as a cure for voter disillusionment.

The inquiry – spearheaded by Labor’s Kim Carr and Liberal Amanda Stoker – was criticised by the Greens for its “bizarre grab-bag of issues” after it solicited submissions on all forms of extremism – from ecofundamentalism and postmodernism on the left to conservative nationalism on the right.

But despite initial misgivings that it could be hijacked by those with extremist views, the submissions published so far canvas a range of mainstream reforms including an Indigenous voice to parliament, allowing dual citizens to run for parliament and democratic reforms including term limits.

Kefford and McDonnell submitted that “radical right populism” had been a “marginal force” in Australia – with One Nation absent from the commonwealth parliament between 2000 and 2016 – while radical left and rightwing parties had increasingly become parties of government in countries such as Austria, Finland, Greece and Italy.

Source: Far right’s poor leadership saved Australia from outbreak of populism, nationhood inquiry told

One in three Chinese immigrants fail to acquire Australian citizenship amid ‘unwarranted delays’

Some interesting data. Have not looked at recent Canadian citizenship pass rates to know if there is a similar pattern here.

But we do know that Chinese immigrants have a relatively lower naturalization rate than many other groups: 77.2 percent compared to the overall naturalization rate of for those who immigrated to Canada 2006-10 (Census 2016):

One in three migrants from mainland China has failed to acquire Australian citizenship since 2012 amid the growing political debate over Chinese influence.

The figure, the highest of any nation in the top 10 sources of new Australian citizens, follows a collapse in the number of Chinese residents approved last financial year, when only 11 per cent of these applicants were granted citizenship as Home Affairs struggled to keep up with demand.

The department pulled that figure back up this year, with 42 per cent of Chinese applications between 2017 and 2019 approved overall.

But figures, given in response to questions on notice in Parliament show that, since 2012, just 64 per cent of applicants from China were approved, compared with 69 per cent from the Philippines, 77 per cent from Britain and India, and 90 per cent from South Africa. The figures exclude migrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Up to 390 Chinese migrants have had their citizenship put on hold for three years, while 9600 have been waiting for two years despite already being permanent residents for several years. At the same time, 2350 Afghani migrants have been waiting since 2015 to have their citizenship applications processed.

A Home Affairs spokesperson said the department did not treat citizenship applications from people from certain backgrounds more favourably than others.

The spokesperson said processing times could vary due to individual circumstances, including the time it takes to receive additional character and national security information from external agencies and the time it takes for the applicant to attend a citizenship ceremony or receive a citizenship certificate.

The Morrison government has blamed the delays on an increase in the complexity of applications. An Auditor-General’s report dismissed this in February, finding that “overall, the relative complexity of the applications lodged has decreased” and the backlog was due to tighter security screenings.

The Home Affairs spokesperson said the department had implemented a number of strategies to improve processing times and reduce the on-hand caseload of applications, without “compromising on national security” or “program integrity”.

The figures come amid a decline in Chinese applications overall. The absolute number of applications for Australian citizenship by residents of Chinese heritage has halved since 2017, when there were 14,707 applicants, compared with 7999 last year.

Political tension between the Chinese and Australian governments has grown since 2017, when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull angered the Chinese government by introducing foreign interference laws. Mr Turnbull last year banned Chinese telco giant Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network due to national security concerns.

Scott Morrison, who is yet to visit Beijing since becoming prime minister in August last year, has become more aggressive in his differences with China on global trade policy since visiting US President Donald Trump in September. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has also sharpened her criticism of the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong.

The chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Mary Patetsos, said the federation hoped people from all backgrounds and nationalities would receive equal treatment in relation to the processing of their citizenship applications.

“I think this is what an overwhelming majority of Australians would expect as citizens of a country that strives to be fair, equitable and democratic,” she said.

“We must also remember that unwarranted delays in the processing of citizenship applications cause significant hardship for families.”

Labor MP Julian Hill, who asked for the figures from Home Affairs and has launched a parliamentary inquiry into the citizenship audit, said the delays had caused widespread anxiety among migrants in his Melbourne electorate of Bruce.

He said some applicants were unable to travel where they needed to without an Australian passport, or apply for jobs in the public service or defence force.

“Then of course there is the big issue of family reunions. People are in my office weekly because they are desperate,” he said.

“Until they are citizens, their family reunion applications will get no priority. That means they have not been able to see their wife, husband or kids for years. The sheer inhumanity of that is astounding.”

Source: One in three Chinese immigrants fail to acquire Australian citizenship amid ‘unwarranted delays’

Australia to settle more immigrants outside major cities

Different approach than Canada, which relies more on provincial nomination programs and regional ones like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (to be made permanent) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot to encourage and facilitate immigration:

The Australian government said on Saturday it is increasing the number of visas for skilled workers willing to migrate to the country’s regions in a bid to ease pressure on major cities, where populations are growing twice as fast as elsewhere.

The government will increase the intake under its regional migration programme to 25,000 from 23,000, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office.

That does not mean, however, that Australia will be taking more immigrants.

Morrison’s conservative government cut the annual immigration intake to 160,000 people as of July 1, versus 190,000 before. The 25,000 visas for those willing to live in smaller cities and regions are part of the annual migration cap.

Nearly a third of Australia’s resident population were born overseas, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD.

Australia, a highly urbanized country with one of the highest population growth rates in the OECD, has about two-thirds of its population living in the capitals of states and territories, according to the 2016 government census data.

Between 2017 and 2018 the number of people living in those cities increased at twice the rate the number of people living outside them, recent government data show. Capital city growth accounted for 79% of Australia’s total population growth.

“We’re using our migration programme to back our regions to grow to take the population pressure off our major capital cities and by supporting strong regions we’re creating an even stronger economy for Australia,” Morrison said.

Migrants willing to live in locations outside of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will have access to priority processing and international university graduates who live in these locations will be eligible to apply for more time in Australia on a post-study work visa.

Source: Australia to settle more immigrants outside major cities