Australia’s federal government has handed down its 2023-2024 budget with the following announcements related to the migration portfolio:
Migration Planning Levels
The 2023-24 migration planning level will be 190,000 places, with 137,100 (70%) allocated to the skilled migration stream. This follows the announcement over the weekend to remove restrictions to enable 482 TSS visa holders in the short term stream to access permanent residence pathways and to reduce the Australian work requirement from 3 to 2 years.
Client impact: All sponsored employees to have a pathway to PR (subject to meeting all other requirements). This pathway will be available after 2 years working for their sponsor. Clients should review their PR policy and visa holder lists to plan for communications and budget implications.
Increase in Fees and Charges
The Government will increase Visa Application Charges from 1 July 2023. The increases vary according to visa classes between 6% and 40%:
|Visa Classes||Current fee||Percentage increase||From 1 July 2023|
|Subclass 482 (TSS Visas)||$1,330 – $2,770||6%||$1,409 – $2,936|
|Business innovation and investment visas||Varies||40%||Varies|
|Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas||Exempt from increase|
Client impact: Costs increase. Consider whether any benefit to lodging any renewals before 1 July 2023.
Increase in TSMIT
As previously announced, the Government will increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from the current rate of $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July 2023.
Client impact: No ability to sponsor new TSS employees under $70,000. Possible impact on market rate in the business for all employees in affected occupations. Consider lodging new applications and renewals before 1 July 2023.
Visa processing capacity to be supported with funding of $75 million allocating part of this amount to support 500 visa processing officers, in an effort to manage the number of visa applications on hand. $27.8 million of this amount will be allocated over two years to upgrade existing visa ICT systems to improve visa service delivery efficiency.
Client impact: Improved processing times are expected for most clients and applications.
$50 million allocated over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $15.3 million per year ongoing) for additional enforcement and compliance activities to maintain the integrity of the migration system.
Client impact: Increased risk of compliance activity such as an audit. Review all processes to ensure compliance. Consider a self-audit.
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.
Client impact: Increased importance of graduate hiring in some industries to access this talent pool without the need to sponsor.
International students working hour cap
As previously announced the working hours cap will be 48 hours per fortnight from 1 July2023.
However international students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.
Client impact: Need to adjust work schedules to avoid employment in breach of visa conditions.
Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme
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.
Client impact: Access to increased labour pool.
Skills Assessment – Improved Skills Recognition
The Government is re-scoping 2 Skills Assesment Pilot to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.
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.
A full copy of the Budget papers are available at 2023-24_Home Affairs Portfolio_PBS