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Changes to Australia's migration program to boost growth in economically challenged jurisdictions of Australia

This initiative is spearheaded by Mark Glazbrook, RMA, who has sent the following email to Migration Alliance.  We support Mark's initiative and provide a copy (with permission) of Mark's email below.  Please contact Mark directly should you wish to contribute.

Currently I am trying to raise $30-$35K from interested groups towards getting economic research undertaken into the net economic benefits that can be achieved in SA through the introduction of an economic migration program.  This is focused on SA as this is the local economy that I know very well.  The overall plan would be based nationally to eligible jurisdictions.

These are a couple of recent media releases from Nick Xenophon about Nick and Jacqui Lambie introducing a private members bill and some of the work I have been doing with him.

To date, preliminary research indicates that between 1.3 to 1.6 new jobs would be created throughout the SA economy for every migrant/migrant family who migrate to SA to live and work in regional communities in key industries sectors such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Farming and other primary sectors.  Currently there are thousands and thousands of existing jobs which remain vacant and have been vacant for a very long time.  Allowing migrants to fill these roles would create new employment and training opportunities in residential and commercial construction, retail, hospitality and through the building trades and services industries.

It is staggering that despite South Australia having record (high) unemployment currently at about 7.9%, there are thousands and thousands of jobs which remain vacant and unfilled.  The economic cost to industry is significant as it is to the broader South Australian economy.  The introduction of an economic migration program with reduced policy settings targeting job vacancies in key industry sectors, similar to the Canadian semi-skilled provincial model would provide an enormous economic boost to SA and other ailing economies in key industry sectors where genuine long term vacancies exist.  Obviously the primacy of Australian workers would be paramount, however, where genuine long term vacancies exist in key industry sectors and where it can be seen that a net economic benefit and the creation of new jobs would be created, regulations and policy must change in order to boost economic growth and activity in regional and low population growth jurisdictions where economic activity is less than the national average.

I have attached my discussion paper (directly below), which is a bit long winded, but highlights the program and potential benefits.


In summary, low economic growth regions would be defined as states, territories or regional areas where population growth and economic growth are below the national average.  Designation as a ‘low economic growth region’ can be retained unless there are five consecutive years in which the state, territory or regional areas population and economic growth are in line with or above the national average.  The aim of these visas must be to support and promote long-term economic and population growth for the relevant areas whilst ensuring the primacy of Australian workers, and must establish these areas as more attractive destinations through lowered eligibility criteria, priority processing, extended work rights for temporary visa holders and pathways to permanent residency that are preferable to existing programs.

I also believe the following changes could be incorporated into an economic migration program with the broad aim of supporting economic development, creating increased employment opportunities and population growth:

  • Business – visas specifically aimed at encouraging migrants and temporary visa holders to establish or purchase a business or make an investment in a low economic growth region
  • Skills – Human-capital-accumulation visas specifically aimed at addressing real shortages of skilled or semi-skilled labour for overseas workers possessing specific eligibility criteria, based on selection programs and skills lists determined by the low economic growth region in question
  • Work – demand driven visas for sponsored and nominated workers aimed at attracting skilled or semi-skilled overseas workers possessing specific eligibility criteria, based on selection programs and skills lists determined by the low economic growth region in question
  • Study – visas aimed at attracting international students to low economic growth regions, including reduced student visa eligibility criteria, reduced streamlined visa processing criteria for education providers, and post-study work rights for students undertaking study relating to occupations in demand (to be determined by the low economic growth region in question)
  • Temporary – visas with increased opportunities for working holiday visa holders, for temporary employment in skilled or semi-skilled work where there are domestic shortages and for family members of permanent residents or Australian citizens to provide care on a temporary basis where required (to be determined by the low economic growth region in question)

I have spoken with over 60 industry bodies in SA, all but one are supportive of such changes.  At the round table event last week there were about 50 attendees including those listed in Nick Xenophon’s media release.  The support for these changes has been overwhelming – and that’s just in SA.  In addition to this I have spoken with the National Farmers Federation and Australia Pork Limited who also support these changes due to significant challenges faced nationally.

To put this into context, the combined population growth of WA, QLD, NSW and Vic last year was over 310,000, whilst the combined population growth of SA, Tas, NT and the ACT was about 20,000.  As you know a key driver to population growth is NOM.  This is a significant difference and due to these numbers the Immigration Department is primarily focussed on the movement of people into the big 4 states, not the unique and individual requirements of the bottom 4 States and Territories.  Australia’s one size fits all migration model is yet another example of a fundamental flaw in Australia’s migration program and one which is having a significantly detrimental impact on economically challenged regional towns and cities.

On another note, it would be great if MA could provide some funding towards the research.  It would be great to have some funding from both migration bodies - especially as this is a national matter affecting not just SA but every other area of Australia that will benefit from the ability to employ semi-skilled workers in key industry sectors – rather than having to use labour agreements.  Other benefits would also be achieved though the other changes to the program.

With regards to funding, I am asking for about $2,000 per group, although some have come back offering $1,000

This is such an important issue for employers and key industry sectors in regional, low population and economically challenged jurisdictions of Australia.  Most importantly it will create new jobs and training opportunities and facilitate economic growth. 

This story was in the Australian last week about the national reform summit.

Senator Xenophon said the summit was a “fantastic initiative” that encouraged discussions about building the nation’s future “rather than trying to tear each other down with bickering”.

However, he said a future conference should also look at the benefits of migration.

This was also on Sky News last week

All the best,


Mark Glazbrook MMIA

Managing Director  |  Registered Migration Agent Number 0100185 

Migration Solutions

33 Angas Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000

GPO Box 2051, Adelaide, SA  5001

P  |  +61 8 8210 9800    F  |  +61 8 8210 9899

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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