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Migration restoration underway after Albanese budget

The Albanese Government has restored some migration program funding in its Federal Budget which was announced by Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers. It has doubled the number of parent visas and increased the number of skilled visas.

Planning levels for the 2022-23 Migration Program will increase to 195,000 places from 160,000 last year to ease the workforce skill shortages that many industries are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

Labor will also continue to allow student visa holders to work more than 40 hours per fortnight until June 30, 2023.

Skilled visas for the 2022-23 year are 35,000 employer sponsored visas, 32,100 skilled independent visas, 34,000 regional visas, 31,000 nominated state and territory visas, 5,000 business innovation and investment visas, 5000 global talent visas and 300 distinguished talent visas.

The Federal Government has increased the number of skilled visas from 79,000 to 142,400 and it has increased the number of family visas with more parent visas available, no limited is in place for partner and child visas.

The Department of Home Affairs will receive an extra $576 million over the next four years to assist with visa processing and to cover a shortfall in funding for maintenance of offshore processing facilities and to support refugees.

An extra $36.1 million over two years announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit will help the Department of Home Affairs to recruit an additional 500 staff to boost processing capacity. A further $6.2 million over two years from 2022-23 will fund outreach and communications, including an international marketing campaign to promote migration to Australia.

Priority for skilled visas will be given to people living overseas and to New Zealanders who have lived in Australia for many years.

As part of the Albanese Government’s plan to build a stronger Pacific family, a Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will be introduced from July next year to boost Pacific permanent migration to Australia.

There will be 3,000 places available each year by a ballot process for eligible migrants from Pacific countries and Timor Leste. Places for the PEV will be in addition to the permanent Migration Program. There will also be an an additional 500 places in the aged care training pathway for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme participants 2022–23.

Humanitarian visa program numbers will remain at 13,750 for 2022/23 with an additional 16,500 for Afghan refugees over four years.

Additional funding for 3-year Temporary Humanitarian Concern Visas (subclass 786) will be available for Ukrainians with extended access to Medicare for a 12-month period including for their immediate family members who hold a Bridging Visa E. A further $0.6 million in additional funding in 2022–23 will be made available for the Ukrainian Community and Settlement Support.

Treasury estimates that the 35,000-person increase in the permanent migration program will generate an additional $935,000 in taxation revenue over four years, which equates to $26,700 per migrant but will cost around $487 million in services such as schools. With a strong focus on the Skill stream, this year’s Migration Program is estimated to have a positive impact of $448 million over four years from 2022-23 on the Budget.

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