New migrants forced to live outside Sydney

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Alan Tudge, Minister for Population and Cities, dubbed the "minister for congestion busting" by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, announced the policy in a speech on Tuesday, promising decentralization and incentives to direct new migrants away from Melbourne and Sydney.

Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce.

The Australian government has revealed its plan to divert migrants away from major cities and boost population growth in rural areas. It would class five cities - Darwin, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and Canberra - as regional centres for migrants to settle in.

"It's not possible to police the condition without substantial resources, both identifying breaches & sanctioning them".

The new visa condition would apply to about 45 percent of the total migrant intake-notably, migrants not bound to settling in a particular location.

It's understood Population and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge will outline the Morrison Government's soon-to-be-released population policy in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The visas would require migrants to live outside the major cities for "at least a few years", he said, using a "combination of encouragement and some conditions".

"Certainly in Sydney you've got infrastructure being built right across the city".

Mr Tudge said some categories of immigrants would be exempt from geographic blocks.

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However, he added: "I'm not sure its legally viable".

A ReachTel poll published in September found that 63 percent of Sydney residents surveyed said they supported restrictions on the number of migrants moving to Australia's biggest city.

Immigration is expected to be an issue in the next federal election due before May 2019.

The number of foreigners arriving in New South Wales annually had ballooned from about 45,000 in the early 2000s to almost 100,000 today, said state premier Gladys Berejiklian - herself the daughter of Armenian migrants.

There are also questions about the business impact in big cities, where job creation is outstripped migration, said James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Business and Industry.

Tudge also said congestion cost the economy A$25 billion ($17.6 billion) in lost economic activity in 2017-18.

He said there needed to be "controlled population growth" and flagged future announcements on high-speed train lines "early next year".

Congestion and infrastructure strain in these cities cost the Australian economy Aus$15 billion (US$10.6 billion) previous year, with annual forecast losses of Aus$40 billion by 2030 if left unchecked, according to government estimates.

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