Australia has long been an attractive destination for skilled migrants and visa holders seeking new opportunities, and the recently announced 2023-24 budget outlines a more targeted and efficient migration system. This article explores the key changes in the budget, which are set to impact those interested in migrating to Australia or those already in the country on a visa, seeking permanent residency.
A Better Targeted Migration System
The Australian government is developing a Migration Strategy to ensure the system delivers benefits for both Australians and migrants. The strategy aims to address the current system’s complexity, inflexibility, and inefficiency, which has developed through years of piecemeal changes.
Boosting Skilled Migration
In the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program, around 70% of places will be allocated to skilled migrants, addressing persistent skill shortages and bringing long-term fiscal and economic benefits. Some of the key measures include:
- Providing an extra two years of post-study work rights to Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees, enhancing the pipeline of skilled labor in crucial sectors.
- Increasing the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold to $70,000, ensuring better targeting of skilled migration settings.
- Exempting international students working in the aged care sector from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.
- Offering additional training places for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers in priority sectors for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and where job shortages exist in Australia.
Improved Skills Recognition
The government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training. The Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will ensure that students from India and Australia have greater certainty regarding their qualifications being recognized by both countries.
Key Changes in Fees and Charges
Visa Application Charges (VACs) will increase from 1 July 2023, with increases ranging from 6% to 40%, depending on the visa subclass. The Passenger Movement Charge paid by carriers will also rise from $60 to $70.
Visa Processing and Compliance Monitoring
The government will invest in visa processing capacity and compliance monitoring, allocating $75.8 million over two years to support visa processing officers and upgrading existing visa ICT systems to improve efficiency.
The Australian Budget 2023-24 brings new opportunities for skilled migrants and visa holders, focusing on a more targeted and efficient migration system. With an emphasis on skilled migration, improved skills recognition, and increased visa processing capacity, Australia continues to be an attractive destination for those seeking new opportunities and a better life.