Why Coalition’s regional migration visas are doomed to fail

Since the Coalition first announced its ‘migrants to the bush’ visas to divert population growth away from the major cities, MB has labelled it a policy smokescreen aimed at diverting attention away from the main issue: that immigration is simply too high at roughly triple the historical average:

One hundred years of empirical evidence shows that migrants overwhelmingly choose to live in the major city, as illustrated by the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia report:

ScreenHunter_17913 Mar. 13 16.00

The latest Australian Census similarly revealed that 86% of new migrants (1.11 million) in the five years to 2016 settled in the capital cities, compared with only 14% (187,000) that settled in regional areas.

Finally, the most recent migrant settlement data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 85% of migrants settled in Australia’s capital cities in 2017-18, with 65% of total migrants settling in Sydney and Melbourne:

With this background in mind, SBS News yesterday reported that the Morrison Government has trimmed the number of subclass 189 skilled independent visas – which allows holders full rights and privileges of a permanent resident from day one – in favour of regional visas:

Only 100 subclass 189 visa invitations were sent out in August 2019, which is a massive fall compared to the previous month. In July 1000 invites had been sent out…

Melbourne-based migration expert Rohit Mohan believes that the government looks more focused on pushing migrants to regional areas.

“The current invitation round in August 2019 is suggesting the fact that the government is tightening direct permanent residency under independent sub-class 189. Instead, the government looks more focused on pushing migrants to regional areas. In coming days, we will see a shift to visa grants under subclass 491 and 494, which will restrict migrants to live and work in regional areas only,” Mr Mohan told SBS Hindi.

Subclass 494 and subclass 491 are the two new regional visas being introduced from November this year.

While these visa tweaks will direct a handful of migrants to regional areas, there is nothing to actually keep them there long-term. Based on past experience, most will inevitably head into the major cities once their mandatory time period in the regions has expired.

To highlight this point, recent ANU research of settlement patterns revealed that 60% of migrants that moved to Australia’s regions subsequently move to capital cities within five years:

An Australian National University study released Thursday found more than 60 per cent of migrants move to a capital city after about five years of living in a regional or remote location.

ANU material went as far as saying new migrants were “fleeing” regional Australia for better opportunities in the cities.

Australia has a number of visas that are designed to entice migrants to regional areas but the research suggests more needs to be done to keep them there.

ANU demographer Bernard Baffour told SBS News, “you can move migrants to areas, but you can’t force them to stay there”…

The study found Chinese-born migrants are more likely to settle in Sydney. Erin Chew of the Asian Australian Alliance said, “a lot of the Chinese people are city dwellers, so they want to live in [places] where there’s a huge concentration of their community”…

Elsewhere, Melbourne is the city of choice for most Indian-born migrants.

The empirical evidence also shows that state-based migration programs have been systemically exploited, with migrants temporarily settling in places like Tasmania and Canberra to qualify for permanent residency before moving to Sydney and Melbourne.

So, short of placing electronic tags on migrants, how can decentralisation be achieved in practice when it has failed repeatedly in the past, with the visa system systematically gamed?

Of course, there are also practical barriers with moving migrants to the regions, such as lack of water supply and jobs. But I will leave these for another day.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. “So, short of placing electronic tags on migrants, how can decentralisation be achieved in practice when it has failed repeatedly in the past, with the visa system systematically gamed?“

    First of all – there are NO jobs to steal in the regional and rural areas.
    We already have up to 17% youth and now 12% mature age Australian unemployment in many of these areas.
    And Electronic tags on all non citizens migrants is a very good idea.

    As well as video surveillance and electronic tracking of all non citizens in our vast migrant slum clusters in Sydney & Melbourne.

    The 1.9 million PR in the last decade – are foreign nationals non citizens – 428,000 Chinese mainland born communists & over 350,000 Indians as sole passport foreign nationals – or others who will never assimilate or contribute.
    They should never have been allowed in let alone granted Welfare & Medicare.

    And then we have the 2.561 million TR & SCV, only here to prey on Australia, work & live illegally in the foreign criminal run onshore black economy.
    Including as example: 360,000 hard core mainland born Chinese communists on a variety of TR visa rackets.
    Or over 230,000 Muslims – Middle Eastern, India, Bangla, Pak, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, North Africa.

    Recruited by foreign agent procurer and trafficked in as a pretext ‘student’, ‘partner’, ‘skilled or dependent’ ‘regional’, ‘protection’ or ‘spousal’ or ‘working holiday’.
    Long stay – 3 to 9 year stays are not uncommon with COE & visa churn. Until they get the PR or get kicked out. Willing participants in visa fraud – entering to deliberately live & work illegally, to repay those agent procurer bribes & loans, to send back the remittances, secure the PR for the Medicare & welfare & to be an anchor in chain migration to sponsor in the rest of their third world burden.

    Or via the NZ SCV loophole as a ‘permanent stay’ full work rights. 696,000 SCV onshore with 260,000 non NZ born Asians & Indians who couldn’t get in the front door or got kicked out- so they re-enter via NZ…
    Another 280,000 third world detritus in NZ are stacked up waiting for the NZ passport stamp to come in.
    Our second fastest growing third world migrant guestworkers sub category behind the protection visa explosion to nearly 300,000.

    The TR enter on ‘self declared’ or ‘fake funds’ / one time check & the money is then whisked out for the next one.

    Or they get in as a pretext ‘tourist visitor’ – 440,000 of the 8.8 million yearly found by the DHA in their parliamentary submission to be working & living illegally.
    No health checks, no activity checks.
    Long stay & repeat stay.
    Then we have the 65,000 Overstayers…

    ➡️ All up?
    5 million non citizens third world migrant foreign nationals onshore.

    Easily 86% or 4.3 million in just Sydney & Melbourne across the entire PR, TR, SCV & TV mix.

    That’s 2.3 million in Sydney or 44% – trending to nearly half the Sydney population.
    Over 1.8 million in vast migrant only ghettoes that stretch from the south west & CBD to far out west in vast swathe of fetid third world non citizen migrant only slums in what used to be Australian housing.

    And 2 million non citizens in Melbourne.
    2 in every 5 people.
    Third world non citizen migrant slums to the horizon.

    Over $80 billion of foreign criminal syndicate dirty money laundered via a proxy migrant PR to voraciously devour the low cost Australia housing in both cities to house the 5 million migrant non citizen & guestworker influx.
    600,000+ ex Australian dwellings in both cities, the Australians booted out & converted into migrant only cash in hand slum share.
    There’s your dirty little housing bubble..


    Let’s do what other countries – including some of the countries they come from.

    Denmark recently – overloaded with third world migrant crime & squalor due to the same mistakes in immigration policy – now declaring their migrant zones as ‘ghettos’ with a registration system, curfews, street and boundary checkpoints and police controls.

    Or say China – a ‘Hukou’ internal pass system where they can’t stay overnight in a major city.
    The local mayor or council decides the quota of non citizens that can live in their area – based on a household and bed registration system.

    Mandatory reporting by all non citizens- PR, TR and Tourist Visitors to their local police station each month (China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Central America and most Middle Eastern countries) on all activities, where they live, who they pay ‘rent’ to and funds & income.
    And that landlord and income cross checked by the taxation department.

    Mandatory onshore health checks on specific high rush countries – China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, all of Africa and Central & South America – no entry into Australia until cleared by an Australian doctor.
    (rather than the current heavily frauded system on offshore ‘agent doctors’ with systemic bribery and corruption to traffic diseased & old sick migrants into Australia to then burden our health care in systemic Medicare fraud).
    In Lakemba today – $150 buys a Medicare card with a migrant ID sex and age & matched blood type for the ‘Medicare tourist’ – the old sick of diseased Chinese, Indian or Bangladeshi visitor on a long stay ‘family visit’ who will then use it for serious medical treatment at the Australian taxpayer expense.
    Then they will rort & stockpile the Australian taxpayer funded PBS drugs to resell back in China or India or Bangladesh – and that funds their whole trip.

    Also electronic and surveillance controls can be used to monitor & track the attendance by the fake foreign students at the so called ‘education provider’ – to find they are working 60 hours a week in the foreign run black economy & paying others for assignments.

    And monitor activity in their vice & criminal networks.
    Prostitution is a legal income for ‘foreign students’ in NSW with tens of thousands of end of life Asian sex workers shipped in as ‘foreign students’ by the foreign criminal syndicates. Now they come in as tourist visitors as well, work until caught, go back to China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand then are trafficked in again under a new identity.

    Then we have the anti social and dangerous entering on easy to get visas – tourist, visitor, student etc and driven by ideological & genocidal impulses to attack & destroy western or non believers of their ideology.
    So why not have electronic tracking?
    Our borders and visa system is completely corrupted and broken.
    Why not have a full homeland security and bio security control in place?

    With 5 million non citizen migrants & migrant guestworkers that are the absolute scrapings from the slums and rural poor of the third world / and at least half who have lied and frauded their way in, or are living & working illegally in visa breach…

    Why not have an electronic bracelet, electronic controls, police & immigration surveillance, mandatory reporting and location controls?

    Just like many other countries have.

    And most importantly, just like many of the countries that this third world detritus comes from.

    It won’t be any surprise to them.

  2. 6 hours ago

    Another regional factory shuts.

    Northern Victorian community hit hard with factory closure

    The closure will be the biggest to hit the region since January 2018 when more than 100 jobs went at Rochester’s Murray-Goulburn factory, the town’s largest employer.

    Sky-high water prices and ongoing drought conditions have hit the region hard over the past 12 months

    More than 150 jobs were lost at the same factory in 2005


    Absolutely brilliant. Have 8 million more immigrants than Holland, build a desalination plant due to a lack of water, double the price of water to pay for the desalination plant, send the factories offshore due to expensive water, and then import another 25 million immigrants and tell them to stay in the regions that have 17% unemployment!

  3. Fishing72MEMBER

    The visa system will be no more effective than checking out a book at the library within a couple of years and the “ punishments “ for failure to adhere to the rules will be the same. That’s because borders are eroding.

    ALP – that bastion of worker protection ( guffaw ) – is gaming up to support the free trade agreement with Indonesia now. Not even the pretext of fake market testing required to import foreign labour.

    It’s all over.

  4. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Water, water, water, water water, water, water, water water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water….

    Melbourne water has told the Victorian Government it won’t be able to supply enough for Melbourne by 2026! 7 years away.

    And that’s with desal running full tilt.

    If the net import of people increases, it will be sooner.

    2026! They know it!

  5. Great idea, let’s [email protected] the rural areas more than they are already.

    I know a lot of people who would move to the country tomorrow, myself included, if there was any jobs.

    There [email protected] won’t be satisfied until they have totally r00ted every last inch of this country.

  6. If we had an Opposition, they could refute this sham. But they’re too busy losing their minds over Dutton, and being the Party of Migration Virtue. They shudder at loss of “border control”, but refuse to discuss the hyper-migration into cities.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Junkyard, easy to get more jobs in the country, get South African immigrants here instead.
      sps179….. ALP = Another Liberal Party

    • How dare Dutton let those lovely Tamil ‘refugees’ go – especially the adorable kids with their cockatoo t-shirts!

      That family isn’t working the system at all. They just had two kids here despite their precarious positions in celebration of how great Australia is!

      Come on, give them a go!

  7. it was never meant to succeed
    people that came up with the idea are not dumb, they know it’s just a media stunt to convince city dwellers to keep the numbers

    • So true. During the last election I spoke to an LNP volunteer and told him that excessive immigration was the issue I was most concerned about. Migrants to the Bush was the solution he offered. When I told him that it wouldn’t work he just shrugged his shoulders and moved on.

      • A group of them tried that on me. I said why don’t you just cut immigration by half and one said that would be “too extreme”. I then asked him what was the average level for the 20th century and he didn’t know. I then said isn’t running it at triple that then actually extreme. He muttered something about “the economy”. When I pointed out that using population growth to grow the economy is rather dumb and an accounting trick to he just shook his head looking at me with contempt.

  8. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Look on the bright side, more ethnic restaurants, cheap “massages”, and Uber drivers in the regions is a good thing.

      • The mobile repair and mobile accessory store near the lift at Marrickville Metro (opposite the locksmith) just got replaced with a currency transfer store!

          • I’ll report back when I next visit, prob this weekend. They have a social club you know! (Metro, not the money transferring vibrants).

  9. Maybe its all smoke screens and mirrors ? Maybe our federal government doesn’t really give a sh!t if the capital cities are where all new arrivals eventually end up, while creating a lot of fake news that suggests otherwise…

    I mean, if the capital cities start getting traffic congestion issues, its all good because ScoMo has announced he has a plan to bust the congestions! so its all good, rainbows and butterflies

  10. reusachtigeMEMBER

    We need a massive increase of vibrants in our cities especially our tier 2 cities like Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth before the regional areas should get the benefits.