Overseas migrants are reinvigorating Australia's sparsely populated regional areas and taking up employment in our regional communities.
In fact, international migrants and refugees are helping to stem population decline in 151 of Australia’s 550 local government regions. Here, we examine the impact more closely...
Great South Coast Economic Migration Pilot
At the end of 2016 the ABC network ran an Australian Story about the positive impact of African refugees’ on the tiny township of Mingoola on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.
Refugees helped to reinvigorate this small regional community and, in turn, found somewhere they felt comfortable and settled in.
A formal international aid worker, Carly Jordan, was inspired by the ABC’s Australian Story on Mingoola to develop a sustainable model to bring refugees to western Victoria.
The Great South Coast Economic Migration Pilot was founded by Carly Jordan as part of a regional leadership programme. It aims to move 10 families from Adelaide and Melbourne to the Southern Grampian and Glenelg Shire councils and then roll out the model across Victoria.
New intercultural approach to regional migration
This new migration pilot aims to help migrants to settle into all aspects of regional Australian life. Community partners help families to find schools and settle children in and they also help migrants to find homes to rent or buy and invite them to take part in community organisations.
Carly Jordan told ABC News, “We've looked at experiences elsewhere which have failed, and often they relied on one individual employer.
"We're working with each individual family for a long time before they move, making sure their skills and qualifications are matched with employers and locations, not just relying on one employer.”
Many regional areas in Victoria have good infrastructure, education and healthcare systems, but a declining or static population.
The Mayor of Southern Grampian Shire at Hamilton, Mary-Ann Brown, said unemployment was low in the region and opportunities were available for both unskilled and skilled migrants to work as farm labourers, joiners, nurses, doctors, accountants and solicitors.
Building long-term regional prosperity
Much concern has been voiced recently about rapid population growth in our largest cities and the impact on services and resources.
By 2050 it’s expected that Australia will have a population of approximately 40 million people, which will of course impact hugely on urban centres. We need to support initiatives like the Great South Coast Economic Migration Pilot that help to relieve the pressure on our cities.
Approximately 187,000 international migrants have moved into Australia’s regional areas between 2011 and 2016 and have helped to stall population decline in 151 Local Government Areas, as shown in the ABS 2016 Census.
Regional re-settlement makes sense for Australia’s long-term future. Immigrants and refugees have the opportunity to re-settle in rural communities where they feel welcome and valued, and dwindling regional areas are given a new lease of life as new arrivals bring stability and long-term prosperity.
Find out more about Australian migration options
Please get in touch with FastVisa if you’re thinking about migrating to Australia. Our experienced team can advise you on your visa options and guide you through the migration process: