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The Australian government announced in March 2019external icon that it would reduce the permanent migration cap. It goes from 190,000 to 160,000 places nationwide with 23,000 visa places dedicated to regional locations. However, after the 124% growth in granted regional visas in the first quarter of 2019, the Australian government announced that will increase the total of regional migration visa places to 25,000 for the remaining of 2019.

Regional cities

Another announcementexternal icon came from the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman. From 16 November 2019, the government will reclassify Gold Coast and Perth’s to regional city. That means they are subject to regional incentivesexternal icon to attract more migrants and international students. Any location outside of major Australia cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) has access to the 25,000 dedicated regional visa places. Additionally, they get priority processing. And, international graduates are eligible for an additional year in Australia on their post-study work visa.

Post-study work visa

However, to qualify international students need to graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification. The degree needs to be from a registered regional campus. And, you should spend a minimum of two years living in any regional location. With these adjustments, the Australian Population Plan aims to reduce migration demand in major cities. Also, it stimulates regional economic growth by providing incentives for migrants to study and work in regional locations around Australia.

Difference between Major City, Major Regional City, and Regional Centre

Updates to the Australian Migration definitions include terms like Major City, Major Regional City and Centre, and Regional Centre and Area. But what do these mean? And what is the difference between Major City, Major Regional City and Centre, and Regional Centre and Area.

What is a Major City? 

  • Sydney 

  • Melbourne 

  • Brisbane    

Incentives to study in a Major City 

  • None 

What is a Major Regional City and Centre? 

  • Perth 

  • Adelaide 

  • Gold Coast 

  • Sunshine Coast Canberra 

  • Newcastle/Lake Macquarie 

  • Wollongong/Illawarra 

  • Geelong 

  • Hobart 

Incentives to study in a Major Regional City and Centre 

  • Access to the 25,000 regional places 

  • Priority processing on regional visas 

  • Access to Regional Occupations List 

  • International graduates from regional campuses will be eligible for an extra year on Temporary Graduate visa 

What is a Regional Centre and Area? 

  • All other regions 

Incentives to study in a Regional Centre and Area 

  • Access to the 25,000 regional places

  • Priority processing on regional visas 

  • Access to Regional Occupations List 

  • International graduates from regional campuses will be eligible for an extra year on Temporary Graduate visa 

  • Priority in negotiating region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)

Study in regional Australia

“International education contributed $35 billion to the Australian economy in 2019. However, only 3% of 690,000 international students were enrolled in regional Australia,” said Dan Tehan, the Australian Minister for Education. To stimulate student growth in regional campuses, the Australian government launched the Destination Australia Program. It attracts an estimated of 4,720 domestic and international students to study at regional campuses in 2020 with the incentive of $15,000 scholarships. 

The Government highlights the skill shortages and job vacancies in regional Australia. An estimated 60,000 vacant job positions are outside major Australian cities. “International students who study in regional Australia also rate their living and learning experience higher than students based in metropolitan centres”, said Minister Tehan.