During this year’s budget announcement, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed significant changes to the Australian visa system, set to take effect from July 2023.

Perhaps the biggest key change is the overall increase in the cost of applying for a Visa, with visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas increasing by 15%, Business innovation and investment visas by 40% and other visas by 6%.

In terms of the allocation of visa places, the 2023-24 Permanent Migration Program will prioritize the Skill stream. Approximately 70% of the allocated places, totaling 137,100, will be designated for skilled migrants. This emphasis on skilled migration aims to address ongoing skill shortages within the country and ensure that the migration system provides the skilled workforce needed for Australia’s long term needs It is worth noting that partner and child visas will continue to be demand driven.

The 2023 budget also includes changes pertaining to international students. The work restrictions for international students will be reinstated from 1 July 2023, following their removal during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work hour cap will be increased by 8 hours to a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight. However, international students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from this limit until 31 December 2023. The government aims to improve job readiness and outcomes for international students by offering faster pathways to permanent residency for skilled graduates. This involves reducing the time spent on bridging visas and providing an additional two years of post-study work rights to Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees.

Furthermore, the budget outlines a commitment to clearer pathways to permanent residency for Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa holders. Restrictions will be removed to enable TSS visa holders on the short-term stream to access permanent residence pathways through the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa. The limit of one onshore renewal for the short-term stream TSS visa will also be removed. These changes aim to provide better opportunities for TSS visa holders to obtain permanent residency.

To address visa backlogs and improve visa processing, the government plans to invest $75.8 million over two years commencing 2023. This investment aims to extend the surge in visa processing resources, enhance existing visa processing systems and ensure timely processing of visa applications.

The finalized details of the migration policy will be revealed later this year after further consultations. These proposed changes are part of the government’s efforts to reform the migration system, attract skilled migrants, streamline pathways to permanent residency, and align the visa system with the needs of the Australian workforce.

Overall, the 2023 federal budget introduces various visa changes that seek to prioritize skilled migration, provide better opportunities for international students, address visa processing challenges, and ensure the long-term economic and labour needs of Australia are met.

To find out whether you will be impacted by these changes, contact our Senior Migration Consultant, Jeffrey Stone, today at nevileco@nevile.com.au

Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general and introductory nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional legal advice. You should always speak to us and obtain legal advice before taking any action relating to matters raised in this publication.