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Australian Migration Intake in the COVID-19 era

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has impacted immigration intake to Australia. Experts have advised that a reduction in migration intake would have a crippling effect for Australia’s coronavirus recovery.

Impact on Economy

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has cautioned that cuts to the skilled migration program would have adverse effects on the economy and communities. In Australia, there are approximately 2.1 million temporary visa holders and 1.78 million permanent residents. More than 25% of Australians were born overseas and nearly 50% of Australians have a parent born overseas.  Thus, the positives contribution of our immigration policy cannot be ignored:

  • Australia’s immigration policy has contributed to nearly 30 years of economic growth.
  • We also have the second largest migrant workforce in the OECD.
  • Migrants are taxpayers and consumers and they play a big role in the housing market.
  • International students bring approximately $39 billion per year into the economy, making international education the fourth-largest industry in Australia.
  • Experts predict that low migration level could also reduce the national income by $50 billion over this year and next.
Intake Forecast

The federal government has forecasted that migration intake will reduce by 85 percent due to the travel ban. Scott Morrison told reporters following the national cabinet meeting that “on the 2018-19 year for net overseas migration, we’re expecting just over a 30 per cent fall in 2019-20, the current financial year. And in 2020-21, an 85 per cent fall-off those 2018-19 levels as well.”

The current planning level for 2019-20 migration program is listed below. While it is unlikely that migration level would meet the 160,000 cap, Scott Morrison has indicated that after the global crisis has passed, he intends to maintain migration intake around 160,000 – 210,000 a year.

Planning the permanent Migration Program for 2020 (before the COVID-19 crisis)

Australia’s Migration Program settings are designed to ensure that migration is beneficial for the current and future economic and social development of Australia. The Migration Program is currently planned and managed annually, with the Program set at an annual planning ceiling of 160,000 places for four years from 2019-20.

The permanent Migration Program consists of these streams:

  • Skill stream improves the productive capacity of the economy and fills skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional
  • Family stream allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with close family members, including partners, and certain dependent
  • Special Eligibility stream provides visas for those in special circumstances that are not provided for in other streams, including former residents, and visas granted under Ministerial
  • Child category allows parents to sponsor their child who is outside Australia to come to Australia. 
Migration Program 2019-20 Planning Ceilings



Planning Ceilings

Skill Stream
Employer Sponsored 30,000
Skilled Independent 16,652
State/Territory Nominated 24,968
Regional Category

Skilled – Employer Sponsored Regional- 494 visa

Skilled – Work Regional- 491 visa



Business Innovation and Investment Program 6,862
Global Talent Program 5,000
Distinguished Talent 200
Skill Total 108,682
Family Stream
Partner 39,799
Parent 7,371
Other Family 562
Family total 47,732
Special Eligibility 236
Total Migration Program 156,650
Child (outside the Migration Program ceiling) 3,350
Total permanent migration places 160,000

Scott Morrison has revealed a national three-stage plan out of coronavirus. We may expect to see travel exemption to international students as early as July 2020. While the specifics of the exemptions have not been announced, the government will be working with institutions to come up with a plan.

Australian Migration Intake in the COVID-19 era

To see the impacts of the Covid-19 on Australia’s immigration intake, we have summarised some of the numbers for you:

  • Approximately 300,000 temporary visa holders have already left Australia since January 2020.
  • Australia’s 2019- 20 migration program will fall short of the 160,000 caps put in place by the federal government. It has been suggested that around 240,000 fewer people could migrate to Australia over the next year.
  • In December 2019, there were 2.43 million temporary visa holders in Australia. This has dropped to 2.17 million in early April.
  • With border closures, the federal government predicts that net migration to fall to 36,000 in 2020-21.
  • The number of invitations issued for SC 189 visa fell from 1,750 to 50 in the last invitation round (11 April 2020).
  • Similarly, the number of invitations issued for the SC 491 visa fell from 300 to 50 in the last invitation round (11 April 2020)


Seekvisa’s Coronavirus action plan

The Seekvisa team have plans in place to ensure ongoing operation for our current and prospective clients. We are able to work entirely remotely in the event that self-isolation is required or the offices are closed, including accessing client files, emails and phones, lodging applications, and accessing documents.

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The post Australian Migration Intake in the COVID-19 era appeared first on Australian Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers Melbourne | SeekVisa.


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