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Australia’s State-Specific and Regional Migration Scheme: An Assessment of its Impacts in South Australia


In post-demographic transition societies, the impacts of low fertility and aging are most strongly felt in peripheral areas where they are exacerbated by youth outmigration. International migration is increasingly seen to have the potential to offset these demographic constraints on economic development. In Australia, immigration policy has been strongly focused on selecting who can be accepted as settlers. However, there are now a range of visa categories which also influence where they settle and channels a fifth of settler arrivals into lagging peripheral parts of the nation. This paper shows how these have been used by the State of South Australia to more than treble its immigrant intake as part of its economic development strategy. The impact of the State-Specific Regional Migration (SSRM) Scheme in South Australia is assessed and the initial experience of settlers examined. It is argued that international migration can play a supportive role in the development of peripheral regions in OECD countries, but there are a number of preconditions which need to be met for them to be effective.


Dans les sociétés de transition post-démographique, les faibles taux de naissance et le vieillissement de la population se font le plus sentir dans les secteurs périphériques, où l’exode des jeunes vient exacerber leur impact. Le potentiel de la migration internationale à contrer ces limites démographiques sur le développement économique est de plus en plus apprécié. En Australie, la politique en matière d’immigration visait principalement l’identification des postulants acceptables. Par contre, il existe maintenant une gamme de catégories de visas qui influencent également le lieu d’établissement des immigrants, dirigeant le cinquième des nouveaux arrivants vers les secteurs périphériques défavorisés du pays. Cet article démontre comment l’État de l’Australie-Méridionale a profité de ces catégories pour augmenter (par un facteur dépassant trois fois) son apport d’immigrants dans le cadre de sa stratégie de développement économique. Nous évaluons l’impact du projet de migration régionale spécifique à l’état (State Specific Regional Migration) de l’Australie-Méridionale et étudions l’expérience d’établissement des immigrants. Nous proposons que la migration internationale puisse appuyer efficacement le développement de secteurs périphériques dans les pays de l’OCDE en autant que certaines conditions sine qua non soient respectées.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Those who arrived in the 5-year before the census.

  2. Persons with occupations in the top four Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) categories— Managers, Professionals, Para Professionals and Skilled Tradesmen.


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Correspondence to Graeme Hugo.

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Hugo, G. Australia’s State-Specific and Regional Migration Scheme: An Assessment of its Impacts in South Australia. Int. Migration & Integration 9, 125–145 (2008).

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  • Settlement
  • Regional migration
  • Migration policy
  • Migration and development


  • Établissement
  • Migration régionale
  • Politique en matière de migration
  • Migration et développement