19 November 2019

Migration experts have slammed the Morrison Government’s new regional visas along with the management of Australia’s visa system at a public hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration held in Adelaide on Monday.

An inquiry into migration in regional Australia has been warned the Morrison Government’s new Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa – which only came into effect this week – is “worse than anything else” and that the Government’s visa changes will mean less migrants will apply to go to regional areas.

Chris Johnston, Migration Institute of Australia (South Australia)-

“If this 494 visa was a car it comes pre-dented, with broken windows and a two stroke engine.”

“This bad regional visa is actually going to be piling people back into the cities. It’s not a viable product.”

“It’s uncompetitive, unattractive and is not going to bring people to regional Australia or South Australia.”

“As migration professionals, we know the program target of 9000 is not going to be met nationally; they’ll be lucky to get 2000.”

Committee for Adelaide-

“It’s hard enough to convince people to settle in a regional area. A lack of permanent residency makes a difficult job even harder.”

Migration expert, Mark Glazbrook, CEO Migration Solutions-

“The new 494 visa and limitations in the 482 TSS program will make regional migration outcomes and the overall program more difficult in regional Australia.”

“Somehow, between the Federal Government and Department of Immigration they developed and implemented conceivably the worst ever regional migration program imaginable, the results speak for themselves.”

Regional migration in Australia had its lowest grant numbers ever in 2017-18 under the third term Liberal National Government with experts at the hearing predicting even less applications will be received for the new regional visas.

“For a Government who likes to boast about people settling in the regions, it’s clear Peter Dutton’s incompetence and maladministration of the Department of Home Affairs – including go-slow visa processing times – has strangled regional migration,” said Senator Kristina Keneally, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.

“Peter Dutton is so incompetent that the enabling legislation that supports these visas and visa holders hasn’t even been put before the Senate.”

“The only reason any regional visas are being issued is because Peter Dutton’s Department is desperately cleaning out the backlog to cover up the Government’s failures of the past six years,” said Julian Hill MP, Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration.

“How are we supposed to believe the Morrison Government will make these new changes work when day one of the public hearings has been a disaster? Their handling of regional migration has been exposed as a failure,” said Senator Raff Ciccone, Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration.

It’s clear the third term Government’s commitment to regional migration is all hot air and political spin from Scott Morrison.