The Morrison Government is delivering on its promise to boost regional migration, by
ensuring our visa system supports Australian businesses and drives skilled migrants to our
The Government has reduced the permanent migration program cap from 190,000 to
160,000 places, and within that has set aside 23,000 places for regional visas.
In the first quarter of this program year the Government has granted more than 6350
regional visas. This is an increase of 124 per cent, compared to the same time last year.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David
Coleman said the migration system is critical to safeguarding the livelihood and continued
growth of regional areas.
“Governments have always had a strong view about the total number of people who come
to Australia through our immigration system, but what we’re doing now is increasing the
focus on the distribution of where those people go,” Mr Coleman said.
"Already we’re seeing results. The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) has
increased by 179 per cent and the Regional Skilled Sponsored visa has increased by 79 per
cent, meaning we are well on track to meet our target of 23,000 regional visas by the end of
the program year.
“These regional visas are a key pillar of our Population Plan which is working to ease the
pressure on the big capitals while supporting the growth of those regions that want more
Earlier this year, the Government announced two new provisional skilled regional visas that
will enable regional businesses to fill vacant jobs faster when Australian workers are not
available, and encourage skilled migrants and their families to settle and remain in regional
The new regional visas will come into effect on 16 November, replacing the RSMS and
Regional Skilled Sponsored visas.
To ensure we meet our targets and continue to support regional Australia, Minister
Coleman has deployed six new Regional Outreach Officers to the states and territories
to promote skilled migration initiatives and provide dedicated supported to regional
employers, helping them understand their skilled visa options.
This is in addition to $19.4 million in funding to support regional areas attract skilled
migrants, including by providing priority processing on regional visa applications.
The Government is also seeing growth in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program, with
43,000 young people granted a second year visa in 2018-19 – an increase of 20 per cent.
Only working holiday makers who complete three months of specified work in a regional
area can access the second-year WHM visa. This means more young people working in and
supporting regional and rural areas, particularly on farms.
“The Morrison Government is working with regional communities to ensure our visa
programs are able to support farmers and regional businesses fill critical workforce
shortages,” Mr Coleman said.
“While we’re getting on with the job to deliver more skilled migration to regional Australia,
Labor and the unions want to scrap key parts of our regional migration program, including
the second year WHM program.
“This would have a devastating effect on farmers, businesses and regional economies.”