The Australian Government handed down its first full Budget for the upcoming year on 9 May 2023. This has huge ramifications on us all, including the Australian migration planning.
Migration Planning Levels
The 2023-24 migration planning level will remain with 190,000 places, of which 137,100 places are allocated to the skilled migration stream.
New Visa Application Charges
The Government will increase visa application charges from the start of the new financial year.
The visa application charges will be raised by between 6% and 40%, with the increases distributed across the following visa subclasses (Table 1). Furthermore, the Passenger Movement Charge paid by carriers will also increase from $60 to $70.
|Visa Classes||Percentage Increase|
|Visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas||15%|
|Business innovation and investment visas||40%|
|Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas||Exempt from increase|
Table 1: Visa Application Charges in 2023-24
Increase in TSMIT
Visa processing and compliance monitoring
Visa processing capacity will be supported with the funding of $75.8 million over two years from 2023–24. Of this, $48.1 million will be allocated over 12 months to support 500 visa processing officers, in an effort to manage the backlog of visa applications. $27.8 millions of this amount over 2 years will be spent to upgrade the existing visa ICT systems for service delivery efficiency.
An additional investment of $50.0 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $15.3 million per year ongoing) is to be provided for additional enforcement and compliance activities to maintain the integrity of the migration system.
AusCheck will be provided with $164.8 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to establish enduring funding arrangements. AusCheck provides background checking and card issuing services, recovered through charging regulated sectors.
AusCheck’s services will also be extended to the migration service industry through a strengthened ‘fit and proper person’ assessment for Registered Migration Agents, subject to the passage of legislation.
Domestic Violence and People Trafficking
$38.2 million will be provided to extend to the current Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) and Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot (TVP) to January 2025.
$24.3 million will be provided over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $5.9 million per year ongoing) to pilot an additional referral pathway for the Support for Trafficked People Program and to restructure the program, while increasing ongoing funding to address current and projected demand.
Immigration Assessment Authority
The Government will provide $4.0 million in 2023–24 for the Immigration Assessment Authority to continue merits review of unsuccessful protection visa applications eligible for fast-track review under the Migration Act 1958, pending the establishment of a new federal administrative review body.
Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services
$9.1 million in 2023–24 to be provided to extend existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to 30 June 2024 to continue settlement services to young refugees and migrants to improve their employment outcomes.
The 5-year maximum duration of eligibility for services under the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program, the National Community Hubs Program and Youth Transition Support services will be removed, to ensure continued support for refugees and migrants who have been in Australia for longer than 5 years and have unresolved settlement related needs.
Adult Migrant English Program
An improved delivery model for the AMEP will be implemented within the existing funding. Changes will provide improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants by providing flexible tuition options, introducing a national curriculum, supporting professional development for teachers, and enhancing client support and performance management.
Love and Thoms High Court cases
$5.5 million over 4 years provided to support a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, and who satisfy the tripartite test as set out in Mabo v Queensland [No. 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1, as a result of the High Court’s decision in Love v Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth (2020) 270 CLR 152.
Eligible individuals will be invited to apply for the Resolution of Status visa (subclass 851) for permanent residence providing access to essential Government entitlements, services and programs.
Temporary Graduate Post Study Rights
Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.
International students working hour cap
The working hour cap for international student visa holders will be reinstated from 1 July 2023, following its removal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be increased by 8 hours from pre-pandemic levels to 48 hours per fortnight.
International students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.
Additional training places will be created for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers in priority sectors for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and where there are job shortages in Australia.
Skills Assessment – Improved Skills Recognition
The Government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.
In addition, the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will ensure students from India and Australia will have greater certainty that the qualifications they attain will be recognised by both countries.
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