Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Australia considers limiting immigrants in its biggest cities

AP, CANBERRA

In this Oct. 4, 2013, the Opera House is seen as Australian warships from front, HMAS Sydney, Darwin and Perth enter the harbour in Sydney, Australia, during the International Fleet review. Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said on Tuesday that his government wants to cut the number of immigrants moving to Sydney and Melbourne in a bid to reduce congestion in Australia two biggest cities.

Photo: AP

Starting a new life in Australia might not come with views of the Sydney Opera House or surfing at the city’s Bondi Beach, with the government considering a ban on some immigrants from settling in big cities.

Australian Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge yesterday said the government wants to cut the number of immigrants moving to Sydney and Melbourne in a bid to reduce congestion in Australia’s two biggest cities.

Placing conditions on visas that force immigrants to stay in less popular centers for several years would increase the likelihood that they would settle in those places permanently, Tudge said.

“Nearly every visa has conditions attached to it, so it wouldn’t be unusual to have a geographic attachment to a particular visa,” Tudge told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, but has long had a high proportion of its population — currently 25 million people — living in cities.

The government is considering banning immigrants from settling in Sydney and Melbourne for five years after they arrive in the country, the Australian newspaper reported.

Tudge would not say how immigrants might be punished if they strayed from where they were supposed to live, or whether they might be deported.

“We haven’t outlined all of the precise details just yet,” he said.

Australia has the fastest population growth of any advanced Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development country other than Canada, growing 1.6 percent a year.

However, the population of Melbourne last year grew by 2.7 percent, the population of the southeast corner of Queensland state around Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew by 2.3 percent, and Sydney grew by 2.1 percent.

The main driver of population growth in Sydney and Melbourne was overseas migration, with 87 percent of skilled migrants to Australia and almost all refugees gravitating to those cities.

Tudge said some categories of immigrants would be exempt from geographic blocks.

Migrants who were sponsored by employers would be able to work where employers need them and those on family reunion visas, typically a foreigner marrying an Australia, would also be free to live where they chose.

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