Emigrants may be blocked from Melbourne and Sydney

Emigrants may be blocked from Melbourne and Sydney

Australia is drawing up plans to require migrants to temporarily settle in regional and rural areas to ease congestion in major cities, the government announced on Tuesday (Oct 9).

"Matching the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be key to the success of this approach", Tudge said.

The government is considering banning immigrants from settling in Sydney and Melbourne for five years after they arrive in the country, The Australian newspaper reported. Migrants will gravitate to opportunities & amenities in cities.

"It's not possible to police the condition without substantial resources, both identifying breaches & sanctioning them".

"You can also put conditions on people's visas as well to stay in a particular area for at least a few years", he said.

The resulting strain on infrastructure in Australia's eastern cities cost the economy A$15 billion (S$14.7 billion) past year, with annual forecast losses of A$40 billion by 2030 if left unchecked, Tudge told an audience at the Menzies Research Centre think-tank in Melbourne.

The growth has been largely migration-driven, with most people settling in Melbourne, Sydney and south-east Queensland, according to the government.

Other incentives would also be offered, Mr Tudge said, in the hope that migrants would remain in regional areas permanently.

However, he added: "I'm not sure its legally viable".

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Immigration has always been a hot-button issue in Australia but has taken on a new prominence as the country heads towards national elections due before next May.

A ReachTel poll published in September found that 63 percent of Sydney residents surveyed said they supported restrictions on the number of migrants moving to Australia's biggest city.

The conservative coalition government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which holds a bare one-seat parliamentary majority, has taken the lead in moves to reduce permanent immigration.

"Any policy that spreads migration will resonate".

Though Tudge claims smaller states such as South Australia are "crying out for more workers", Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews says he is not in the business of telling people where to live but migration policy reform to that effect is a matter for Canberra.

"This (congestion) is a serious challenge for families and a serious economic challenge for the nation", he said.

Tudge told 7 Sunrise on October 9: "Our overall objective is to get a better distribution of the population growth across the country".

"We've had 27 years without a recession".

More than 600 Irish people have been deported from Australia over the last two years.

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