Sydney Wants The “Brightest and Best” Expats

Officials in New South Wales, Australia’s biggest state, are aiming to quadruple their intake of skilled migrants in order to attract “high-value” individuals to Sydney to help boost skills and investment.

The proposal, aims to raise the intake of skilled migrants from the current quota of 1,750 to 7,200 and extend post-study work rights for international students who have studied in the area. The new proposals also outline plans to allow business migrants to extend their visas from four to eight years.

The state’s proposals were outlined in a report released this month by the state government: “As strong economic growth continues in emerging key markets in the Asia-Pacific, investment flows from those areas will become increasingly important to NSW,” it said.

“NSW stands to gain from economic growth and increase in income and wealth levels across Asia if we can respond to this opportunity by presenting appropriate investor visa requirements.”

The report includes plans to make it easier for migrants who make investments exceeding A$750,000 (S$973,000) in the state to receive visas and seek permanent residency. To date, few people have taken up this investment visa in NSW – just 77 in 2010-11 and 60 in 2009-10.

Andrew Stoner, the minister for trade and investment for NSW, commented on the proposals saying: “We want the best and brightest from around the world to help fill skills shortages and turn our economy around. Overseas migrants, foreign students and visitors are needed in NSW to help establish international relationships which support our cultural and economic links.”

He added that business migrants provide the experience, international connections, capital and entrepreneurial skills that are needed to “strengthen the economic vitality and diversity of the state.”

Unfortunately the proposals have met with a large degree of resistance from many members of the local population who claim that Sydney, with a current population of 4.5 million, is already overpopulated.