Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new immigration policy encouraging migrants to move to areas outside of the big capital cities, possibly increasing rates of immigration to Wollongong.

The policy focuses on capping Australia’s permanent migrant intake at 160,000 a year, but also offers incentives to move to regional areas and outside of major cities.

The current cap stands at 190,000, although only 162,000 migrants were accepted into Australia last year.

“Better targeting our intake will address skills shortages and benefit the economy as a whole. It will take pressure the off in those cities that are straining, while supporting the cities and towns that are keen to have stronger growth,” Mr Morrison said.

“Managing population growth isn’t just about the migration intake. It’s about infrastructure, it’s about city and regional deals, it’s about our congestion busting projects, removing traffic bottlenecks, it’s about funding the essential services Australians rely on and providing key skills to rural and regional areas.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics listed Wollongong’s number of new overseas migrants between 2011-2016 at 8,049, up from 3,643 during 2006-2010. Wollongong’s total migrant population stands at 43,917 of a total 213,132 residents, less than the countries’ average of 30 per cent, but is increasing.

The policy is being introduced to combat overpopulation in major capital cities, with Sydney and Melbourne targeted.

The 30,000 reduction in the permanent migrant cap would force 15,000 migrants to regions outside of Sydney and Melbourne, and also force a percentage of skilled migrants to live in regional areas for at least three years before moving to a major city.

The number of migrants in Wollongong is increasing each year, while Australia’s total overseas-born population fell 3.1 per cent between 2011-2016.

With migrants being urged to live in regions outside of the capital cities, Wollongong may expect an influx of migrants over the next four years of the policy.

Featured Image Credit – (ABC NEWS: Jed Cooper)