This Budget assumes greater importance given the backdrop of COVID-19, which has adversely affected Australia’s Migration Program and International Student enrolments as well.
Let’s first go through the important updates the Federal Budget brings to Immigration, and then in the final part of the blog, let’s look at the broader implications.
Updates on Migration Program Planning Levels 2020-21
- As per the Budget’s predictions, the total migration numbers from overseas are expected to decrease by 71, 200 as that of 2019-20’s figures. In 2019-20, the total migration count from overseas was 154,000.
- Net overseas migration is predicted to increase gradually to about 201,000 from 2023 through 24.
- The Migration Planning levels 2020-21 will remain unchanged at 160,000.
- Within the Skilled Stream, Employer-Sponsored visa, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program will get priority.
- While the migration program planning level remains the same, there is a change in how those places will be distributed. The Family stream will accommodate 77,300 places (from 47,732).
- The 2020-21 Migration Program will accord priority to applicants seeking an onshore visa, and to partner visa applicants in cases where the sponsor is based out of a designated regional area.
Australian Federal Budget 2020-21: Announcements on Visa Refunds/Waivers
- Holders of Prospective Marriage Visa or PMV may be able eligible for a VAC refund.
- Applicants under the Pacific Labour Scheme and holders of the Seasonal Worker Programme Visa will be eligible for VAC refund.
- There’s some respite in store for Temporary Skilled Workers and also for Visitor Visa holders.
- They may be eligible to get their VAC for their next visa application waived. This will let them return to the island nation, once restrictions on travel are removed.
- Those under the Working Holiday Makers program can apply for VAC on their next visa application which will be waived off. So they will be able to go back to Australia once travel restrictions are removed. Otherwise, they may be able to get a VAC refund.
Australia Immigration is extending the services of accessing VAC refunds/waivers to individuals who are visa holders currently and unable to enter Australia owing to travel restrictions. The Visa holders will be able to access these refunds/waivers till the time borders re-open.
Developments in Permanent migration
- Under the New Zealand Pathway to PR, income threshold levels to be eligible, have changed.
- Now, as per the new developments, Special Category visa holders (i.e. Subclass 444) will be eligible if they a taxable income valued at/above Temporary Skilled Migrant Income Threshold.
- The amount for the same is $53,900, and they must have drawn the income for a minimum period of three out of the previous five years. This period includes the latest year.
Updates under Business, Investment & Innovation ProgramUnder the Federal Budget 2020-21, the Australian Government will bring in changes to better the quality of applicant and investment.
The program will prioritise high-value investors, owners of businesses, and entrepreneurs.
The goal is to boost BIIP’s economic outcomes.
The BIIP program will witness increased places to 13,500. BIIP visa application fees will also see an increase by an extra 11.3% on the 1st of July 2021.
Developments under the Global Talent Independent program
- The GTI program has witnessed a trebling of the number of places to 15,000.
The goal is to boost local employment levels and aid quick post-COVID recovery.
Family stream Program
- Mandatory family sponsorships provisions will be enforced.
- Character checks will assume greater importance.
- So will personal information-sharing with the applicant and other sponsorship obligations.
ConclusionA few strong themes are emerging from the updates.
While it is still possible to apply for an Australian visa currently, both onshore and offshore, the Government is prioritising processing for onshore applicants.
Those applicants who are overseas right can explore their Travel Exemption options.
How should overseas visa applicants use their time now? Our Registered Migration Agents for Australia recommend utilising this time to prepare to meet requirements. Doing this will put them in an advantageous position once the border re-open.
Applicants for Partner and Family Visa can use this time to understand how the updates under the Federal Budget impact their respective applications and prepare accordingly.
At Aussizz Group, our Immigration Experts are considering the Budget and its impact on Australia immigration in the times to come. For personalised advice on how to navigate through these changes, feel free to consult with them.
Get in touch with us now!