Earlier this month the federal budget was announced, and as predicted there were no surprises where Australia’s financial future is concerned.
As with all federal budgets, migration had its place. So, how does migration fare in the 2020/2021 budget?
The immigration intake for 2020/2021 will remain at 160,000.
It is predicted that the net migration figure will fall into negative figures with a loss of 72,000 in the 20/21 financial year. In turn, this this will cause Australia’s population growth to drop to 0.2%.
Details pertaining to other migration issues were also covered.
Migration Program Levels
While the Migration Program Planning level will remain at 160,000 for the 20/21 period, the distribution of places will change. Family stream places will increase from 47,732 to 77,300 for this year.
Employer Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program visas will be prioritised within the Skilled Stream as will onshore visa applicants and Partner visa applicants whose sponsors live regionally.
Visa Refunds and Waivers
Where visa holders have not been able to travel to Australia due to Covid-19, the government will offer Visa Application Charge (VAC) refunds.
Those able to access VAC refunds are:
- Prospective Marriage Visa holders
- Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program holders
- Temporary Skilled Workers and Visitor Visa holders (this applies to subsequent visas which will allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions are lifted)
- Working Holiday Makers
The income eligibility requirements for New Zealanders in Australia on the Skilled Independent visa wanting permanent residency has been made easier. The income threshold for those on a Special Category (subclass 444) visa need only have an income of $53,900 in an income year for three of the last five years including the most recent year.
Business, Investment and Innovation Program (BIIP)
The Government will introduce changes to improve the economic outcomes of the Business, Investment and Innovation Program. Visa application charges for the program will also increase by 11.3% on 1 July 2021 and the number of places will increase to 13,500.
Global Talent Independent program
Places in the Global talent Independent program will increase to 15,000.
Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce
A new Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce will be established to attract international businesses and exceptional talent to Australia, to support post- COVID recovery and boost local jobs. This program will have a strong focus on attracting international business and the best talent from around the world.
Family Stream Program and Visas
A mandatory family sponsorship provision for partner visas will be implemented. This will require character checks and sharing of personal information with the applicant and enforceable sponsorship obligations. Of the 77,300 places available in the family stream, 72,300 will be allocated to partner visas.
English language requirements will also be introduced for partner visa applicants and their sponsors.
Adult Migrant English Program
Time limits and caps of 510 hours allocated to the Adult Migrant English Program have been removed.
The 2020 Federal budget and the recovery plan it delivers for Australia features migration as a key component. Covid-19 has impacted migration greatly, hopefully there will be some positive outcomes for the migration sector once international borders finally open.
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.
If you would like to discuss any aspects of migration, contact the team at Visa Solutions Australia on +61 8 9328 2664