The Australian Labor Government delivered its first federal budget last night. Minister Clare O’Neil’s released a short portfolio media release and further budget statements will be released over the coming days.
The Minister announced that with a strong focus on the Skill stream, this year’s Migration Program is estimated to have a positive impact of $448 million over four years from 2022-23 on the Budget. An extra $36.1 million over two years announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit will help mean the recruitment of an additional 500 staff to help deal with volume and improve processing times. A further $6.2 million over two years from 2022-23 will fund outreach and communications, including an international marketing campaign to promote migration to Australia.
From an Immigration perspective, there were not many new announcements, but rather confirmation of previous commitments already made. These included:
- Migration program – 195,000 permanent skilled migration places (increased from 160,000 as announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit)
- Student visa conditions – extended relaxation of work restrictions for student visa holders and secondary training visas holders to 30 June 2023 (can work full time)
- Priority processing – of offshore skilled migration applications and on-hand NZ Stream Skilled Independent SC 189 applications.
The 2022-23 skilled permanent migration program will be increased from 79,600 to 142,400 and is broken down as follows:
|State & Territory nominated
|Business Innovation & Investment
- Parent visas – increasing the quota from 4,500 in 2021-22 to 8,500 in 2022-23
- Aged care sector and PALM Scheme – an additional 500 places in the aged care training pathway for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme participants for 2022-23
- Pacific Engagement Visa – a new Pacific Engagement Visa with up to 3,000 permanent migration places for nationals of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, in additionto the existing permanent migration program
- Ukrainian Temporary Humanitarian vis – additional funding for 3-year Temporary Humanitarian Concern Visas (subclass 786) for Ukrainians and extended access to Medicare for a 12-month period for Ukrainians, including their immediate family members, who hold a Bridging Visa E
- Ukrainian funding – $0.6 million in additional funding in 2022–23 for the Ukrainian Community and Settlement Support
- Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 – nil visa application charges for international teams, officials and official careers participating in the games.
We have already seen an improvement in visa processing times in the skills streams and hope that the extra funding for more Departmental staff will improve this further as we head into the busy end of year period.
It is important to note this funding is still lower than the previous $875 million previously available.