Are peripheral regions benefiting from national policies aimed at attracting skilled migrants? Case study of the Northern Territory of Australia

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    Abstract

    Australia has been increasing the skilled stream volume in its annual immigration program. This stream currently contributes around 70% to the program.

    Historically, the NT has been attracting some of the lowest numbers of skilled migrants from all Australian jurisdictions annually.

    Since 1996 - 97, Australia has been operating a regional migration policy to attract skilled and business migrants away from the largest cities and to regional areas with a view to help regions address skills shortages and facilitate economic development. The NT has participated in this policy since its inception.

    This research brief contributes to the emerging stream of research on skilled migration to peripheral regions of the developed countries. The NT serves as an example of a peripheral region.

    An innovative approach to immigration data analysis, which consists in tracking over time, changes (a) in the composition
    of permanent additions to Australia’s and the Territory’s populations; and (b) changes within their respective skilled streams permits formulating four propositions regarding immigration to peripheral regions.

    With regards to skilled migration, the key message is that peripheral regions like the NT benefit from national policies aimed at attracting more skilled migrants with a lagged effect. The regional migration policy plays an important role in bringing skilled migrants to the NT.

    To use immigration to address skills shortages, peripheral regions should continue supporting those skilled stream categories which have been driving their skilled migration intake.

    In addition, in the context of low overall skilled migration to peripheral regions and the reality of wide-spread skills shortages, a complementary strategy would be to support the locally resident immigrant-born groups in training for occupations which have a shortage of skilled workers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages1-17
    Number of pages17
    No.09
    Specialist publicationResearch Briefs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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