Australian Migration Strategy 2023 – Employer Sponsored Visas

Amongst the many changes proposed in the Australian Migration Strategy 2023, one key aspect is the transformation of Australia’s Temporary Skilled Migration System. At the heart of this significant change is the “Skills in Demand Visa”, a multifaceted initiative designed to cater to various skill sets through three (3) distinctive pathways: the Specialist Skills Pathway; Core Skills Pathway; and Essential Skills Pathway. The Skills in Demand visa is designed to provide greater flexibility for skilled workers and offers clear pathways to permanent residence. It is to replace the existing Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa, which is seen as inadequate.


Specialist Skills Pathway

The Specialist Skills Pathway is intended to expedite the recruitment of highly skilled specialists, ensuring Australia can swiftly acquire top talents. Key highlights of this pathway include:

  • Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must meet general eligibility criteria, such as being nominated by an approved employer and satisfying health and character requirements.
  • Occupational Scope: This pathway is open to individuals in all occupations, other than trades workers, machinery operators, drivers, and laborers.
  • Income Threshold: Applicants must be offered a nominated salary of at least $135,000, aligning with the Specialist Skills Threshold and corresponding with the 90th percentile of earnings for all workers.
  • Service Standard: The government is committed to a 7-day median visa processing time for workers in the Specialist Skills Pathway.
  • Annual Indexation: The Specialist Skills Threshold will undergo annual indexation to maintain its relevance.


Core Skills Pathway

The Core Skills Pathway will serve as the primary route for most temporary skilled migrants and is strategically designed to address targeted workforce needs. Key features include:

  • Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must meet general eligibility criteria and have occupations listed on the new Core Skills Occupation List.
  • Salary Requirement: Candidates are required to earn a salary at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which will be renamed the “Core Skills Threshold”.
  • Inclusivity: Unlike the Specialist Skills Pathway, this pathway welcomes trades workers, machinery operators, drivers, and laborers, provided they are identified on the Core Skills Occupation List and earn above the TSMIT.


Essential Skills Pathway

The Essential Skills Pathway, currently under evaluation, aims to provide a regulated pathway for lower-paid workers possessing essential skills. This pathway seeks to address labour shortages in sectors vital to Australians’ living standards, such as the care and support economy. Key considerations include:

  • Sector Focus: The pathway primarily pertains to the care and support economy, recognizing its essential role in Australians’ quality of life.
  • Distinct Arrangements: This pathway differs from both the Core Skills and Specialist Skills pathways. It is sector-specific, capped, and characterized by stronger regulation and minimum standards.
  • Occupational Differentiation: Within sectors such as the care and support economy, the distinction between the Core Skills Pathway and Essential Skills Pathway may be defined by occupation and pay. For example, in the care and support economy, Aged and Disabled Carers would have access via the Essential Skills Pathway, but most Registered Nurses or Allied Health Professionals would have access to the Core Skills Pathway


New Labour Market Testing

Recognizing the inadequacy of current labor market testing requirements, Australia is removing the obligation to advertise positions through Workforce Australia, and will extend the validity period from 4 to 6 months. The government is also exploring mechanisms for robust and genuine independent verification of labor market need, moving away from employer-conducted labor market testing.


Processing Time: Enhanced Efficiency

The government aims to establish a median service standard of 21 days for the new Skills in Demand visa and 7 days for the Specialist Skills Pathway. Additionally, modernizing the accreditation pathway will provide approved sponsors with streamlined access to migrant workers, with a particular focus on leveling the playing field for smaller businesses and start-ups.


In conclusion, Australia’s reimagined Temporary Skilled Migration System, with its multifaceted Skills in Demand visa and thoughtful pathways, is poised to usher in a new era for skilled professionals, including peer lawyers. These changes, driven by the need to align immigration policies with the dynamic demands of the labor market, underscore Australia’s commitment to fostering a skilled workforce and embracing diverse talent. Stay informed and prepared as these reforms reshape the landscape of skilled migration in Australia.


Visa Plan Lawyers are equipped to dispense effective and efficient solutions to our clients in their unique circumstances. In doing so, we strive to provide excellent services whilst keeping the costs affordable, reflecting the motto of our practice – “Affordable Excellence.”


Scroll to Top