Foreign immigrants have become instrumental in powering the growth of regional communities when they settle there. Most of the new immigrants are younger and, therefore, possess the potential to work and start their families there.
This was revealed by the research conducted by the Regional Australia Institute, which pored over the latest 2016 Census data. According to it, regional local governments were able to tackle falling population rates in small towns by enticing overseas migrants.
Many small towns in Australia depend totally on foreign migrants to boost their population. In all, 550 local government areas were reviewed. Out of these, the population increased in 175 regional areas, while it did not in 246 areas. On the other hand, 151 regional areas saw their overseas-born population increasing and their native population decreasing. In only 20 areas, the number of Australian-born had increased, while overseas-born population fell.
Darwin was a beneficiary of foreign migrants entering it, as its overseas-born population increased from 19,445 in 2011 to 24,961 in 2016. On the other hand, its Australian-born population decreased to 44,953 in 2016 from 45,442 in 20111.
The Smart Company said that without this increase in foreign-born population, this city’s population would have fallen, and that, in turn, would have affected its economy.
In 2004, the Australian federal government had initiated a movement to increase migrant settlement across the country to improve the social and economic environment in regional communities.
It is reported that international migrants plug workforce shortages in regional areas in occupations such as nursing and doctoral. They also fill positions in the unskilled workforce that Australian workers are unwilling to occupy.
About 187,000 foreign migrants had settled in regional areas between 2006 and 2011. This is still not enough, aver experts. They say that only one out of five new immigrants arriving in Australia opt to settle in small towns. The rest prefer to settle in larger cities.
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