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Federal Budget Snapshot for the Australian Visa Programs

This year's Australian Federal Budget contains some immigration related announcements. Apart from the 2022-23 Migration Planning Levels, most of what is included in this budget has been previously announced or alluded to in previous media releases.


With respect to the new Migration Planning Levels the government will reinstate levels to 160,000 for the 2022-23 year with net overseas migration expected to increase from minus 89,000 in 2020-21 to 41,000 in 2021-22, then 180,000 in 2022-23, before increasing to 213,000 people in 2024-25.


Of those, skilled stream visas will account for 70 percent of the program which translates to 109,900 places, which is a welcome increase of around 30,000 over the previous program.

The Government has conceded that there has been a sharp fall in on-hand partner visa applications and so will redistribute 10,000 of those to the skilled stream program.


Other family visas likely benefit from the remaining 30 percent of places taken from the partner stream. It was noted that within the budget papers there is a reference to 'partner visa granting arrangements will move to a more demand driven basis going forward' with new figures for the program being 40,500 - Partner visa stream, 6,000 - Parent visa stream, 3,000 - Child visa and 600 for Other family and Special eligibility visas.


There will be a name change from the Global Business, Talent and Investment Taskforce to the Global Australia Taskforce ostensibly to attract investment and talent but how a change of name will achieve the goal has not been described.


Working and holiday visas will increase by 30% in 2022-23 to allow in additional 11,000 young travellers who could enter and remain in Australia for up to three years subject to meeting the requirements for their visa extension at the end of each 12 months period. Those visa holders who arrive in Australia between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022 will be eligible for a refunded VAC. This is hardly surprising as both our tourist industry and the casual and farm labour market in Australia has suffered under the pandemic, and it continues to struggle.


The Humanitarian program will remain at 13,750 for the 2022-23 year and that number is a ceiling rather than a target to reach. Furthermore, half of humanitarian visa recipients are to be settled in regional Australia. The significant change is that additional 16,500 humanitarian places will be available for Afghan nationals. The target is that over the next four years a total of 31,500 Afghani asylum seekers will be settled in Australia. However, this includes 10,000 already scheduled to arrive and 5,000 in the family stream. Ukrainian refugees will be offered up to 4,000 3-year Temporary Humanitarian Concern Visas (subclass 786) but the government has said it expects that they will resettle in Europe.


The total resourcing for the six functional units (eg, Immigration, Border Force, Customs etc) that comprise the Home Affairs portfolio will increase by 11% - from $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion dollars. And staffing levels will increase by 398 is planned but that covers the whole Home Affairs portfolio.


The Budget papers and Portfolio Statements are published at budget.gov.au

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