Skilled migration will drive a strong future in Australia, with the Government highlighting a focus on immigration in the recent 2022/23 Federal Budget.
There are three core areas that will change to have a positive impact on Australian employers.
At the a glance, the immigration changes include:
- Permanent residency: The permanent residency cap remains at 160,000 for financial year 2022/23, however, the split has changed significantly, benefiting employers, skilled workers and their families.
- Global talent attraction: The global talent allowance has decreased by 7000 places, however, funding has been allocated to the Global Australia Taskforce to help close the skills shortage gaps for employers by attracting talented individuals and international investment to Australia.
- Working holiday makers: Working holiday visas have been increased by 30 per cent (11,000 spaces), which spells good news for both visa holders and employers looking to close the skills shortage gaps.
These changes will take effect on July 1, 2022.
In this blog, we dive deeper into these three core areas and look at how the critical skill shortages will be addressed and what it means for employers and organisations in the future.
1. The permanent residency cap remains at 160,000 but the split changes significantly
In its Federal Budget release, the Government outlined that the 2022/23 Migration Program had been designed to “boost Australia’s economic recovery and drive social cohesion outcomes in the post-pandemic environment”.
While the permanent residency cap remains at 160,000, the amount of all skilled permanent residency visas (including employer sponsored, general skilled, investment and business visas, global talent visas) has increased by 30,000 year on year, which is great news for employers.
Under this Migration Program, the skilled stream visas will account for 70 per cent, with a total of 109,900 places. Of the 30,000 increase, 20,000 are newly allocated and 10,000 have been redistributed from the Partner Program.
It’s important to also note that of these 109,900 places in the skilled stream, the employer-sponsored visa category will receive 30,000 places, which is the largest portion in the skilled stream. This shows a strong focus on employment-related permanent migration where applicants are connected to a job opportunity in Australia.
Meanwhile, the split between the types of permanent residency visas has also changed significantly. The new split within the cap consists of:
- Skilled visas – 70 per cent
- Family visas – 30 per cent
The Department of Home Affairs reports on its website:
- Skill (109,900 places) – this stream is designed to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia.
- Family (50,000 places) – this stream is predominantly made up of Partner visas, enabling Australians to reunite with family members from overseas and provide them with pathways to citizenship.
- From 2022-23, Partner visas will be granted on a demand-driven basis to facilitate family reunification. This will help reduce the Partner visa pipeline and processing times for many applicants.
- 40,500 Partner visas are estimated for 2022-23 for planning purposes, noting this estimate is not subject to a ceiling.
- 3000 Child visas are estimated for 2022-23 for planning purposes, noting this category is demand driven and not subject to a ceiling.
In our experience, on-shore partner visa applications are still experiencing a long processing time, with 25 per cent being processed within six months, but the majority of the applications taking 12-24 months.
2. Global Talent Visa program allowance decreases by almost 7000 places
The Global Talent Visa is a pathway to permanent residency for skilled migrants and their families. Under the 2022/23 Migration Program, the Government has significantly decreased the amount of places allocated (by almost 7000) taking the total to 8448 global talent places.
In the past, The Migration Agency has noted that there is a “use it or lose it” basis for this visa and if the places are not used they may not be allocated again in the next program, which seems to be the case for this migration program.
There is more information on this visa here.
Instead, the Government has allocated $19.5 million in the Federal Budget to the Global Australia Taskforce (formerly known as the Global Business Talent and Investment Taskforce) to help employers attract the best and brightest from around the world to Australia to help strengthen our economy in the future.
3. Working holiday visas have increases by 30 per cent and 11,000 spaces
For 2022/23 only, the Government has announced in the Federal Budget a 30 per cent cap increase to the number of places available to working holiday makers from countries with a capped Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement. That means 11,000 more places.
Australia has Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with 45 countries and there are now new agreements in place with Brazil and Mongolia, with increased quotas with India, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia.
There has also been an age limit increase from 30 to 35 years for Italian and Danish citizens wanting to work and travel in Australia.
To further encourage the arrival of working holiday makers to Australia, subclass 417 and 462 visa holders who arrived in Australia between January 19, 2022 and April 19, 2022, can apply for a refund of the visa application charge (VAC).
This is good news for employers who rely on itinerant or seasonal workers to fill gaps in their workforce, particularly the hospitality and retail sectors.
Get in touch with TMA for expert immigration help
Navigating these recent updates and changes can be difficult. If you need help with your immigration, visa and global talent needs, get in touch with The Migration Agency and speak to our caring and knowledgeable people who will be able to assist you. Contact us here.