According to The Guardian, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that the government will be capping permanent migration at 160,000 for the next four years, a 15 per cent decrease compared to the previous cap of 190,000.
He announced that the government will also introduce two new regional visas for skilled workers that will reportedly cover 23,000 new entrants. These visas require three years’ residence in Australia’s regional areas outside of the country’s biggest cities in order to get a permanent residency.
People entering Australia under these new regional visas will be given priority processing on top of having access to a larger pool of available jobs. However, those who breach the conditions of these new visas by relocating to cities will not be eligible for permanent residency on top of “risking cancellation and removal from Australia”.
On top of that, it was also announced that 1,000 scholarships will also be offered to encourage more international students to study at regional universities, outside of Australia’s big cities. These scholarships are reportedly worth $15,000 (approx. RM43,600) and are available to both local and international students.
Overseas students who do take up these scholarships can also be able to access one additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.
In light of these newly announced measures under the country’s population policy, the Australian prime minister acknowledged that the timing of this announcement was awkward given the recent events of the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. An Australian senator under the Morrison government faced a lot of backlash after he issued a statement blaming the attacks on the “growing fear over an increased Muslim presence” in the country.
Addressing this, Morrison stated that population in Australia was a practical issue and it shouldn’t be “hijacked by other debates about race or about tolerance or these other issues”.
Check out The Guardian’s full article about Australia’s population policy here to find out more.
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