More refugees headed for regions

HALF of all new refugees will be settled outside of Australia's three main cities by 2022 under a shake-up of refugee and humanitarian settlement to be announced today.

It comes as the Morrison Government prepares to release the highly anticipated Shergold review of refugee and humanitarian settlement, which was completed nine months ago.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Immigration Minister David Coleman will commit to fully or partially supporting all seven recommendations in the report.

Australia’s Immigration Minister David Coleman. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Australia’s Immigration Minister David Coleman. Picture: Kevin Farmer

The report calls for a centralised position within the department to co-ordinate refugee settlement, including employment and integration programs, working across the entire federal government and in close collaboration with all states and territories.

It also calls to improve the social and economic participation of refugees, more regional resettlement opportunities and new visa pathways for refugees who are sponsored by communities, employers or universities.

Mr Coleman said the Government would create a new position of co-ordinator general for migrant services to oversee all policy and service delivery.

The position is expected to be filled within weeks.

A major review of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian settlement program has recommended the government introduce a new place-based community sponsored visa for refugees. (AAP Image/Ellen Smith)
A major review of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian settlement program has recommended the government introduce a new place-based community sponsored visa for refugees. (AAP Image/Ellen Smith)

It will also set a new target of settling 50 per cent of all new refugee and humanitarian entrants outside of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne by 2022, lifting the rate from about 40 per cent this year.

"We want to ensure all refugees and humanitarian entrants have the best possible opportunity to settle into Australian life, gain employment and contribute to their new communities," Mr Coleman said.

"Financial independence, English language skills and personal connections allow humanitarian entrants to more easily transition into the community, put down roots and contribute to our economy.

"Successful settlement is in the interests not only of the refugees themselves, but also of the broader Australian community."

Other parts of the Government's package include creating a trial program for skilled refugees, improving employment strategies for young, old and at-risk refugees and "harnessing the goodwill of Australians by better connecting refugees with volunteer and grassroots organisations".