The Regional Australia Institute has released a new paper aimed at helping regional communities to attract and retain migrants from Australia’s cities or overseas, new arrivals on skilled working visas, or humanitarian grounds.
Steps to Settlement Success: A Toolkit for Rural and Regional Communities is based on interviews with community champions of regional settlement in Australia and overseas, many of whom have initiated programs for their communities with little to no formal guidance on how to make settlement ‘happen’, the Institute said.
It uses seven steps to determine settlement success including initiating a strategy and consulting the local community, welcoming and hosting new migrants, and securing housing.
“Notwithstanding the importance of employment, affordable housing and availability of land for farming, for many migrants, the decision to stay on and live in a regional community ultimately depends on whether the community is a welcoming community that is ready to embrace the new migrants,” a supporting document, Understanding Regional Settlement in Australia, says.
“A welcoming community is a source of safety for new migrants and can help greatly with migrant attraction and retention (National Working Group on Small Centre Strategies, 2007). Thus, encouraging more small towns to become welcoming communities is also integral to sustainable regional settlement.”
The new paper was produced in association with the Scanlon Foundation and Welcoming Cities.
The Institute’s Co-CEO, Dr Kim Houghton, gave an overview of regional Australia at ALGA’s Regional Cooperation and Development Forum last month.