New migrants to be forced to live outside Sydney and Melbourne

David Coleman

Starting a new life in Australia might not come with views of the Sydney Opera House or surfing at the city's Bondi Beach with the government considering a ban on some immigrants from settling in big cities.

As well, Canberra will work with the states to implement new infrastructure planning and population controls to claw back some of the $A25 billion ($NZ27.4 billion) a year in lost economic activity due to city congestion.

The Morrison government will unveil long-promised changes to Australia's visa system on Tuesday, enacting a plan to force migrants to spend years in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

"Nearly every visa has conditions attached to it, so it wouldn't be unusual to have a geographic attachment to a particular visa", Mr Tudge told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Currently, the influx of migrants arriving in Australia is equivalent to one person landing per minute, and this has caused a major backlash for its most popular cities.

But the population of Melbourne grew a year ago by 2.7%, while the population of the south-east corner of Queensland state around Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew by 2.3%, and Sydney grew by 2.1%.

Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce. "We haven't announced all of the details of exactly how to do that, but it's reasonably straightforward", Mr Tudge said. Growth in the Brisbane-Gold Coast region reflected higher levels of population shift within Australia and a higher birthrate.

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"Matching the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be key to the success of this approach", Tudge said.

He added that these steps may especially affect those who are not sponsored to work in one of the major cities by an employer, or are granted visas to join their families.

Sponsored employees make up 25% of Australia's immigrant intake and family reunion visas make up 30%.

Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland are among the fastest-growing urban areas in the world thanks in part to overseas migration, said population minister Alan Tudge.

Labor says the Government's suggestion is a thought bubble but they are not ruling out supporting the measure.

Melissa Montero, an immigrant advocate and chief executive of the Sydney-based community migrant resource centre, said immigrants need social support, language services as well as jobs to successfully resettle.

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