On May 9th, 2023, the Australian Government released its full Federal budget for 2023/2024. This article summarizes the most relevant announcements related to the Department of Home Affairs portfolio and the migration program that were included in the Budget and associated papers.
The Federal Budget announces its plans and policies for the next financial year (and years ahead) for each of its profiles. As part of the Federal budget 2023/2024, migration policies met with several changes. The key changes are:
1. Visa Application Charges
The visa application charges will increase from between 6% to 40% from 01 July 2023. If you are planning to lodge a visa application, we would recommend doing so before 01 July 2023. The expected changes are:
|Visa Type||% Increase|
|Visitor, Working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist)||15%|
|Business innovation and investment visas||40%|
2. Migration Planning Levels
The 2023/2024 Federal Budget lowers Migration Planning levels to 190,000 places. Of those places, 70% (137,100) will be allocated to Skilled visas.
For sponsored work visas, a Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) is imposed to eliminate risk of worker exploitation. This has been set at a rate of $53,900 for many years. However, in the latest Federal Budget, this will be increased from 01 July 2023 to $70,000.
4. Visa Processing and Compliance Monitoring
As part of the Federal Budget, the Government will invest $75.8 million over two years to support visa processing capacity and upgrade existing visa ICT systems. An additional investment of $50.0 million over 4 years from 2023-24 will be provided for additional enforcement and compliance activities to maintain the integrity of the migration system.
This is expected to increase 500 visa processing officers to manage the current load.
AusCheck will also receive $164.8 million over 4 years from 2023-24 to establish enduring funding arrangements. AusCheck’s services will also be extended to the migration service industry through a strengthened ‘fit and proper person’ assessment for Registered Migration Agents.
5. Change to Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa
The 2023/2024 Federal Budget will focus on enhancing migration pathways to permanent residency for 482 visa holders including enabling short term occupation visa holders to access permanent residence pathways.
The limit of the once onshore renewal is also removed.
6. Change for Student (subclass 500) visa
Work hour cap to be reinstated from 01 July 2023 but will be increased to 48 hours per fortnight (previously 40 hours per fortnight).
Student visa holders working in Aged care sector will continue to be exempt until 31 Dec 2023.
International higher education graduates with select degrees will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights from 1 July 2023.
7. Change for New Zealand Citizens
As previously announced, New Zealand citizens will have a direct pathway to obtaining Australian citizenship. Further details can be found in our Article here.
8. Love v Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth (2020) 270 CLR 152.
As a result of the Love and Thoms case, $5.5million of the Federal Budget will be provided over 4 years to support a migration pathway to permanent residency for individuals who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents yet satisfy the tripartite test as set out in Mabo v Queensland [No. 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1.
Eligible individuals will be invited to apply for the subclass 851 visa providing permanent residency status.
Further announcements will come as these changes are implemented. Keep an eye out on our website for immediate updates. If you wish to apply for a visa, you should book a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in immigration law to find out whether it is best for you to apply now before the changes apply after 01 July 2023.
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