The Australian government has announced a new proposal in which new migrants may be forced to live outside Sydney and Melbourne. This policy has been created in order to ease congestion in Australia’s two biggest cities while boosting the population in the regional areas, Population Minister Alan Tudge said on Tuesday.
The proposal is part of “a decentralization agenda” – “Nearly all of the growth in Australia is into the three population centers of Melbourne, Sydney and Southeast Queensland. And that’s putting enormous pressure on Melbourne and Sydney particularly, and we see that in the congestion on the roads every day,” Alan Tudge told an Australian TV program.
Australia has been widely criticised for its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees but since 2017 they have settled the second most refugees per capita after Canada and Norway. Now the Australian government want to use their migration policy to decrease the population growth in the ,Ain cities which has more then 4.5 million residents and has increased by more then 10% over the past five years. Three out of four arrivals settle in either Sydney or Melbourne which will now be off limits to new migrants unless they are sponsored by employers or reuniting with family.
The government may also introduce visa conditions to limit where some migrants live for up to five years. Other incentives will be offered in the hope that the migrants will remain in the regional areas permanently. The Labour opposition has said the idea should be considered but raised concerns in the lack of details in the plan.
Some economists argue that confining migrants to low-growth areas does not make sense for the economy. Immigrants should be in fast growing areas with high paying jobs, places with can provide enough housing and transportation to accommodate them. Big cities function better at a larger scale strengthened by the increasing potential interactions between people and jobs. In the U.S., virtually none of the country’s largest cities would have added population in the last few decades without immigrants.
Immigration and population experts have said that such measure would not necessarily reduce congestion in cities. There is many questions being raised as to how this policy would work and how it will be implemented.