The latest figures released by government indicate the number of permanent residency visas granted in 2018-19 was the lowest in a decade with only 160,323 visas (ceiling of 190,000) granted under the Permanent Migration Program. This means that it is getting tougher to acquire Australia’s permanent residency compared to three years ago.
Migration experts say the data also reveals there was a significant increase in the number of visas granted to those in regional areas, in sync with the government’s plans to send more migrants to regional areas.
Compared to 68,111 visas granted under the general skilled migration in 2017-18, only 60,240 visas were in 2018-19, accounting for 7871 fewer visas; 8987 visas were granted under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme in 2018-19, up from 6,221 places in 2017-18—a 44% increase.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the Government will continue to increase its focus on regional migration, and added that this year, the government has reduced the cap for the Migration Program from 190,000 to 160,000.
The government is also dedicating 23,000 places for regional skilled migrants and have announced two new regional visas to help fill some of the tens of thousands of job vacancies in regional Australia.
Indians are the biggest source of migrants to Australia since the 2016-17. Over 20% of the total permanent migration program came from India. China accounted for 15% of migrants and the United Kingdom accounted for 8.4 in 2017-18.
India is also the second-largest source of international students for Australia, with more than 70,000 international students enrolling at Australian educational institutes in 2018.