In case you are planning to move to Australia and have been dreaming of living in Sydney and strolling along the Bondi beach or visiting the numerous cafes and markets in Melbourne, this government proposal may just rain on your parade. As per the proposal, immigrants to Australia will not be permitted to live in larger cities in the country and will have to opt for smaller, rural regions.
The proposal, announced by Australia's population and urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge on Tuesday, October 9, is said to be a part of a "decentralisation agenda" aiming to decongest larger cities and even out the migration pattern.
"The key issue here is the distribution of the growth rather than the growth number," Tudge said on ABC Breakfast. "If we had a better distribution of the growth, we wouldn't have quite the same pressure that we have on Melbourne and Sydney and south-east Queensland."
He also explained that rural regions in the nation are in dire need of more workers, who mostly move to larger areas. He explained that the smaller regions in Australia intend to grow at a faster rate, which, in turn, will take the pressure off the larger cities.
"I've spoken to the South Australian Premier and he said that he wants to grow the state of South Australia by 20,000 people every year and he'll have the work there to do it, so the work is there," Tudge added.
Explaining how the proposal has been planned, he said that new immigrants to Australia would be mandatorily required to live in regional areas for at least "a few years" and this condition would be put forward in the visa application procedure. But how the nation plans to make this a law hasn't been specified yet.
"When someone is on a visa, we can easily place conditions on it. We haven't announced all of the details of exactly how to do that, but it's reasonably straightforward," Tudge said.
However, experts believe that the proposal may look good on paper, but it will be tough for the government to enforce. Tony Matthews, researcher at the Cities Research Institute explained that the current situation, with majority of immigrants living in Sydney and Melbourne, isn't sustainable in the long run, but the new proposal too may not really work out.
"I'm not sure its legally viable," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg also questioned how the policy could be enforced.
"Imposition of the visa condition is the easy part. Enforcement will be harder. Migrants will gravitate to opportunities & amenities in cities. It's not possible to police the condition without substantial resources, both identifying breaches & sanctioning them," he tweeted.