The Impact of the 2019 Federal Budget on Australian Migration
The Migration Program for 2019-20 was announced in the Federal Budget, where places for skilled migrants for the coming year have been reduced. As of July 2019, a majority of skilled migrants will be required to live in regional Australia after most places have been allocated to regional Australia.
For 2019-20, the entire program was capped at 160,000 places. While 108,682 places have been allocated to the skilled stream, there are 47,732 places for the family stream and 236 places for special eligibility. An estimated 3,350 places in the migration program were allocated to children visas that are not subject to capping.
Skilled Migrant Visas
In 2019-20, only 108,682 places were allocated compared to 128,550 places for skilled migrants in 2018-19, a decrease of nearly 20,000 places compared to previous years. Of the 108,682 places allocated to the skilled stream in 2019-20, only 18,652 places were allocated to Skilled Independent Visas allowing migrants to settle anywhere in Australia.
In regional Australia, a large number of skilled migrants will have to settle, with 23,000 places allocated for regional visas. Of the 24,968 visas also allocated to the State / Territory nomination, a significant number will be required to live outside, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Gold Coast.
Other key migration program changes include:
- A 5.4% increase in visa application fees for all visa categories from July 2019 (except the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa) to generate an additional $275 million between 2018/19 and 2021/22.
- $ 64.2 million in spending on social measures to facilitate cultural integration between migrant communities.
- Lower forecast for the Australian Skilling Fund Levy to collect $ 126 million less in National Training Contribution Charges (NTCC) over the four years up to 2022 – 23 than the original figures. This reflects a lower demand than expected for visas sponsored by the employer.
Two new Regional Visas to be introduced in November 2019
New regional visas will replace the existing Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visa and Skilled Regional Subclass 489 Visa. The new skilled regional provisional visas will be for skilled migrants and dependent family members who want to live and work in Australia. There will be two new skilled regional provisional visas to be introduced in November 2019:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
- 9000 places have been allocated for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa and 14,000 places have been allocated for Skilled Work Regional visa in 2019-20.
- Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to live and work in regional Australia with visas granted with a validity period of up to five years.
- Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa. The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa will commence in November 2022.
- Temporary Graduate Visa – Regional -available from 2021
Importantly, holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to demonstrate that they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of the new Skilled Regional Provisional Visas to be eligible for permanent residence. The Federal Budget also confirmed planning targets for overseas trained doctors would be reduced by 155 placements amid plans to encourage the distribution of doctors in regional areas.
General Skilled Migration Points Test changes
Primary applicants for General Skilled Migration will be able to access extra points from November 2019 if their partner has proficient English but cannot meet the requirements for skilled partner points. Additional points for single applicants are still to be confirmed.
Changes to Work and Holiday Visa Holders for Indonesians
For Indonesian citizens, the annual cap for a Subclass 462 working holiday visa will rise from 2,500 to 5,000 over the next six years.
With Business visa application fees set to rise in July 2019, you may want to apply for a business visa before the new costs come into effect. To understand how the above changes affect the requirements or eligibility of your business for a qualified visa, we encourage you to contact our Registered Migration office; Oz Visa Info; address: 17/38 Mandurah Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210 e-mail: [email protected] , phone: +61 4 9710 0731