2015 Federal Budget – Immigration aspects
The federal budget delivered by the Treasurer Joe Hockey was somewhat predictable for increasing the visa application charges particularly for those applications lodged offshore and a number of revenue raising measures aimed at foreign property buyers and working holiday makers.
For the revenue side of the budget, the Treasurer announced an increase to visa application charges of between 2.3 per cent (around the CPI level) and 50 per cent for a range of visas depending on demand and other policy considerations.
Targeting foreigners is considered “low hanging fruit” for any government because there is no immediate political pain. This is evident in the steep rise in visa application charges over recent years.
From 1 July 2015 the regular sub class 457 visa will increase $25 while other short term business visas will increase by around 5 per cent across the board.
The family related visas increase by around 10 per cent on average and the Significant Investor Visa gets a significant increase of 50 per cent to $7010 from the current $4675 for the primary applicant.
A complete list of the Visa Application Charges effective from 1 July 2015 may be found here; VAC-increases-fact-sheet from 1 July 2015
Other items of interest in the budget include removal of the tax free threshold for working holiday makers in Australia. This is a difficult measure to defend as it creates an inequity in the labour market but the working holiday makers do not get to vote!
Foreign investors seeking to buy property in Australia will also be hit with higher fees following the recent introduction of the 3 per cent stamp duty for foreign investment buyers wanting to purchase property in the State of Victoria.
Lastly, the Federal Government has introduced a new measure which is being called the “Google Tax” which is likely to be somewhat popular as the multinationals are clearly ripping us off and it’s time to get those companies with deep pockets. Good luck with that Mr Treasurer.
Visa Solutions Australia