The Morrison Government is considering forcing migrants to regional and rural centres for up to five years, as part of a four-point plan to ease congestion in capital cities as population growth outstrips infrastructure building.
Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce.
"Migrants will gravitate to opportunities and amenities in cities", he tweeted Tuesday.
There are now no limits on where individuals can settle after they receive a skilled migrant visa.
Population and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge outlined the government's four-point plan in a speech delivered at the Menzies Research Centre in Melbourne on October 9.
Mr Tudge wants to correct the "imbalance" by expanding the mix of geographical visa conditions and incentives imposed on new arrivals.
An official in Tudge's office, who declined to be named, said migrants could be restricted from settling in the biggest cities for up to five years. "We haven't announced all of the details of exactly how to do that, but it's reasonably straightforward", Tudge said.
It's not clear if the plan would survive a legal challenge.
However, he added: "I'm not sure its legally viable".
Figures published by the Department of Home Affairs in August revealed that 87 percent of migrants who arrived in Australia between June 2016 and June 2018 settled in either Melbourne or Sydney.
Immigration has always been a hot-button issue in Australia but has taken on a new prominence as the country heads towards national elections due before next May. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is in the early stages of drafting plans that will enforce no emigrants settling within these two cities.
"Any policy that spreads migration will resonate".
"People are voting with their feet, they want to be in cities and so I think the job for government is to ensure that cities work and that people can get around rather than to try to get people to go where they don't want to go", Ms Terrill said.
Tudge told 7 Sunrise on October 9: "Our overall objective is to get a better distribution of the population growth across the country".
Tudge also said congestion cost the economy A$25 billion ($17.6 billion) in lost economic activity in 2017-18. "There are a lot reasons for that, but one of those reasons is that the population has been growing, on average, 1.5 per cent a year", Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said.