Immigration to Australia and the Federal Budget 2023
Whenever there is a new budget there are changes for many areas including those affecting visas. The Federal Budget that was released this week had several announcements that came under the auspices of the Department of Home Affairs and therefore affected immigration.
The Australian Government says it will invest an additional $630 million through the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force. These investments complement the Government’s proposed vision for a targeted, simpler migration system.
The Government is looking to deliver the skilled migrants needed to address persistent skills shortages by allocating around 70 percent of places in the 2023-24 Permanent Migration Program to the Skill stream. Partner and child visas will remain demand driven.
Immigration places and improved services
For the 2023-24 year there will be 190,000 places available with 137,100 in the skilled migration stream however, the cost of accessing these places will increase with visitor visas up by 15 percent, business and investment visas by 40 percent and other visas by six percent though the Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) visas will remain at the same cost level.
We should see an improvement for the extra cost as the visa processing capacity will be supported with funding of $75.8 million over two years, with $48.1 million allocated over 12 months to support 500 visa processing officers at Home Affairs. An upgrade to the existing visa ICT systems will be implemented to improve efficiency.
The government will also provide $4 million for the Immigration Assessment Authority to continue merits reviews of unsuccessful protection visa applications.
Graduates and international students
Temporary Graduate visa holders with certain degrees will be eligible for an extra two years of post-study work rights to improve skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.
The working hour cap for international student visa holders will be reinstated from 1 July 2023 and increased by eight hours from pre-pandemic levels to 48 hours per fortnight.
International students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.
Around $9 million will go towards extending the existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to 30 June 2024 to continue settlement services to young refugees and migrants to improve their employment outcomes.
The 5-year maximum duration of eligibility for services under the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program, the National Community Hubs Program and Youth Transition Support services will be removed, to ensure continued support for refugees and migrants who have been in Australia for longer than five years and have unresolved settlement related needs.
Domestic Violence and People Trafficking
The Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) and Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot (TVP) will be extended to January 2025 and be allocated $38.2 million in funding.
$24.3 million has been allocated over a four-year period from 2023-2024 (and $5.9 million per year ongoing) to pilot an additional referral pathway for the Support for Trafficked People Program (STPP) and to restructure the program, while increasing ongoing funding to address current and projected future demand.
An improved delivery model of English programs
An improved delivery model for the Adult Migrant English Program will be implemented and changes will provide improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants by providing flexible tuition options.