As of 16th November 2019, Perth and the Gold Coast will no longer be classified as major cities, as their request to be classified as regional areas instead has just been approved.

Previously, only locations outside of major cities – such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane – were eligible for regional visas.

This new classification will have the following benefits:

  • Applicants who have studied in Perth or the Gold Coast will be entitled to claim an additional 5 points to help them exceed the points test threshold for 189, 190 and 491 visa subclasses
  • Graduates can be sponsored under the new 491 visa and skills shortages can be addressed in Perth or the Gold Coast
  • Graduates from studies undertaken in Perth or the Gold Coast can qualify for an additional year on their Subclass 485 visa, enabling them to stay for three years instead of two
  • Perth or Gold Coast residents can sponsor their skilled relatives under the family stream of the new 491 visa

The Australian government announced in March 2019 that it would reduce the permanent migration cap from 190,000 to 160,000 places, ensuring that 23,000 of these places would be designated for regional visas.

Due to the unprecedented increase in the number of regional visas granted in early 2019, however, they are now increasing the available places to 25,000.

Education and Training Minister for Western Australia, Sue Ellery, notes that ‘international students enrich the social vibrancy and cultural fabric of our communities’.

Approximately 70 per cent of Australia’s population growth in recent years has taken place in the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

This new system aims to ease the pressure on these cities, incentivising students and workers to settle in regional areas.

The aim of designating certain areas as ‘regional’ is to enable these areas to share in the opportunities that come from having a higher number of international students and skilled migrants.

As a result, we anticipate that the Australian government will continue to expand opportunities for migrants to work and study in regional areas.

If you would like to work or study in a regional area, and eventually gain permanent residency, now is the perfect time to schedule in a consultation to speak with us about your options.