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Immigration changes in Budget 2021-22

Here is a brief summary of things that may be of interest to our migration community.


The 2021-22 Migration Program will be held at 160,000 with an almost even split between Skilled and Family Visas. The number of places available for Family Visas will be set at 77,300 for 2021-22. We will continue to see movement in the partner visa stream where processing times dragged in excess of 24 months. Another great commitment to dealing with backlog and bringing families together, though priority will be given to the onshore applications for applicants who are already in Australia.


The net overseas migration is expected to fall from around 154,000 to around 72,000 by the end of 2020-21 and then gradually increase to around 201,000 by the 2023-24 period with only 13,750 places for the Humanitarian Program which is not a target but a ceiling.


Good news for Temporary Visa holders who are stuck in Australia with a visa expiry looming around the corner. The Government has removed the requirement for applicants for the Subclass 408 Pandemic Event visa to demonstrate their attempts to depart Australia if they intend to undertake agricultural work. The period in which a Temporary Visa holder can apply for the Temporary Activity visa has also been extended from 28 days prior to visa expiry to 90 days prior to visa expiry, but only for those working in essential industries and seeking the Pandemic Event visa for a period of 12 months with limited work rights associated with their designated work activity in essential industries, for all the other applicants the term is 28 days.


Another positive initiative is addressing the backlog of cases in the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Federal Government announced that $52.8 million will be spent over four years from 2021 to address the issue. With some 60,000 active cases pending at the Migration and Refugee Division and the statistics that on average 40% of the refusal decisions by the Department of Home Affairs are decided in favour of the applicants, dealing with the horrendous delay is a priority for the Australian Government. This will be partly met by an increase in the application fee payable for review of non-protection visa decisions for appeals in the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court, which will bring increased revenue of around $7 million over the four years.


Extension of the validity period for Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas with further 18 months for individuals who are unable to use their visas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions is another positive which goes alongside the already implemented extensions for people who were granted certain visas and are able to receive an extension on their date of first entry with further 12 months.


Significant investment goes into the newly established Global Business and Talent Attraction task force with a commitment of $550 million over the next four years to entice talent and business from overseas. The Australian Tax Office will provide fast track tax advice to foreign investors and individual tax residency rules will be simplified.


The greatest Government investment was budgeted for the Irregular Maritime Arrivals Offshore Management for 2021-2022 with the staggering $811,836,000.


No announcement was made on changes to visa application charges.


If you would like to talk about one of the Assent Migration Lawyers experts get in touch we are here to help you navigate your migration journey with confidence.

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