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Regional Migration - what are your options?

Mandatory Regional Settlement?

Recent news revealed the Morrison Cabinet is considering a mandatory regional settlement plan for new migrants in order to address the rising population numbers in Sydney and Melbourne. Home Affairs released figures showing 87% of newly-arrived migrants prefer to settle in the big cities while regional areas continue to struggle with low population.

A look at current State-Specific Regional Migration

There is a range of State-specific and Regional Migration initiatives currently in place that have been set up by the Australian Government in consultation with state and territory governments including regional development authorities that are designed to help state and territory governments to:

  • Address skill shortages that may exist in their jurisdiction;

  • Attract overseas business people to establish new or joint ventures in their regions

  • Encourage a more balanced settlement of Australia’s skilled migrant intake.

The Department indicates that these initiatives include flexible criteria which recognise the special circumstances of rural and regional areas. It is aimed to attract young, skilled, English speaking migrants to areas of Australia where they are most needed. All skilled migration visas that are sponsored by regional employers or state and territory governments receive priority processing.

The Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa

A four year temporary visa available for skilled people that comes with a condition to live, work and study only in specified regional area of Australia for at least two years. When the holder has held their visa for at least 2 years they can then apply for the permanent Skilled Regional visa as long as they can show that they have lived for two years and worked full-time for at least one year in a specified regional area.

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

This scheme was specifically designed to assist regional employers to nominate skilled migrants to fill a vacancy after demonstrating genuine need for a paid employee. This is not points-tested but applicant must possess the qualifications and skills required for the nominated occupation including meeting English language requirements. For the direct entry stream, an advice to be provided by the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) is required to ensure that all nominations under the stream are scrutinised by a third party who is familiar with the local labour market conditions prevailing in the area.

The Business Innovation and Investment Visa

This is a state or territory nominated visa that aims to attract entrepreneurs and investors to assist in the economic development of specific areas by encouraging migrants to set up business in regional, rural or low population growth areas. Initial visa will allow investment migrants to enter Australia on a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa for four years. After demonstrating sufficient level of business or investment activity, holders of this visa may apply for permanent residence under the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa.

The existing Temporary Entry Initiatives

While the above-mentioned visas lead to permanent residence, there are also the current visa options that allow for temporary residence.

Investor Retirement Visa

An option for applicants who are 55 years old or older with no dependents other than a partner to remain in Australia indefinitely. Applicants should be able to meet financial requirements including income and asset tests and make a significant long-term financial investment in Australia.

Working Holiday Visa

This temporary visa is a tourism and cultural exchange-based visa programme that allows young adults aged 18 to 30 from eligible partner countries to have an extended holiday of up to 12 months in Australia during which they can engage in short term work and study.


The mandatory regional settlement is still in its very early stages but the above-mentioned pathways are currently available for anyone looking to settle in the regional areas of Australia. At SCA Connect, we can assist in exploring best options for you and your family.

Contact one of our consultants today to discuss your circumstances.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case specific information or advice, please contact SCA Connect.

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