The long awaited Migration Strategy was released on 11 December 2023. An overview of the new strategy, which is designed to make our skilled migration system more focused on skills required to build productivity and use permanent migration to build and innovative and effective workforce for Australia’s future can be seen below.
The strategy based on 8 key actions:
Certain parts of the strategy are still to be finalised after further consultation as recommended by the Parkinson review. The key announcements include:
The government will extend migration planning beyond the current 12 month planning cycle to fill critical skills shortages and ensure better collaboration with the states and territories.
Net overseas migration numbers are expected to fall from 510,000 in the 2022-23 financial year to 375,000 next financial year and 250,000 in 2024-25. The numbers are predicted to stabilise at this lower level from that time on.
International student numbers grew to 270,000 in 2022-23 up from 170,000 in 2028-19 prior to COVID, which also saw a return to Australia of students who had been forced to study online and offshore during the pandemic.
Temporary visa holders, ie Temporary Skilled, Working Holidays Maker and COVID pandemic event visas, accounted for 180,000 places in 2022-23, up from 100,000 in 2018-19.
A new three tiered system of visa pathways to replace the TSS SC 482.
The visas will be granted for up to 4 years and visa holders will be able to change employers more easily and provide clear pathways to permanent residency. The ‘TSMIT‘ will be indexed annually and a public register of employer sponsors to allow more ease with moving between employers.
Consideration will be given to collecting the SAF in smaller increments over time in recognition of the greater freedom of visa holders to change employers. A monthly or quarterly payment model will be explored.
LMT is to be streamlined, although the only announcement so far is that the requirement to advertise on the Workforce Australia site will be abolished. The validity of advertising period will increase from 4 to 6 months.
LMT will be gradually phased out as Jobs and Skills Australia data on skills shortages improves and a Core Skilled Occupation List created as an alternative to LMT.
The points test will be reviewed. Further consultation will occur on a new points test, with the development of a new analysis-based points test to identify more effectively the independent migrants who will make the greatest contribution to the country. This pathway will have a faster pathway to permanent residence for graduates working in skilled jobs.
There will be considerable change to the 485 visas as they become more targeted towards international graduates with skills required by Australian employers, including:
There will be significant changes to the student visa program, although the number of places will not be capped. Instead other migration levers will be used to control numbers, including;
From early 2024, the English requirements for Student visas will be increased to:
Regulation of education agents through an expansion of the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority will be investigated.
The government has acknowledged the lack of success of current regional migration strategies in attracting migrants to those locations. The government will work closely with the state and territories to provided better targeting of regional population needs. Regional visa applications will also be fast tracked.
Regional migration settings and the Working Holiday Maker program will be reviewed to ensure migration supports development objectives in regional Australia and does not contribute to the exploitation of migrant workers.
No changes at this stage to the WHM program although the length of stay and the 88 day rules are under consideration.
The Global Talent program will be more sharply focused on a relatively small number of migrants who can make outsized contributions to Australia. There will be consideration of a new ‘talent and innovation’ visa.
The Business Innovation and Investment Program has seen over 80% of company directors invest in small retail or hospitality businesses, rather than in sectors that will drive Australia’s future innovation and productivity. The Significant Investor Visa program looks set to continue with some further adjustment.
it has also been announced that foreign investors who buy established homes and and higher penalties if they leave them vacant.
The foreign investment fees will be tripled and vacancy fees will be doubled for all foreign owned dwellings purchased since 9 May 2017.
The Government will consult on the feasibility of limiting the involvement of unregistered overseas providers in the migration system, and severely curtail and monitor the provision of unqualified advice from influencing the visa lodgement process.
Strengthening the regulation of registered migration agents (not detailed in the strategy) and combat providers of unscrupulous immigration assistance, including increasing financial penalties.
Related: Migration Strategy Australia 2024
As you maybe be aware a significant number of changes came into effect last Saturday 25 November 2023, these included;
Given the impact of the cessation of the COVID concession, we recommend booking an appointment to discuss your case.
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