April 2nd, 2019

Summary of migration changes in the Federal Budget

2019 Federal Budget announcements

The 2019 Federal Budget contains the following announcements and information related to the Department of Home Affairs and the migration program.

VACs to increase

Base VACs for visa subclasses, except the Visitor Subclass 600, will increase by 5.4% from 1 July 2019
No increase to second instalment VACs
Expected to increase revenue by $275 million from 2018/19 to 2021/22

VAC exemptions – INAS Games and T20 World Cup

Subclass 408 VACs waived for athletes and officials for the 2019 INAS Global Games in Brisbane
VACs waived for competitors and officials for the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup 2020

Skilling Australians Fund – lower revenue than forecast

The Skilling Australians Fund levy is forecast to collect $126 million less in the four years to 2022-23, than previously forecasted. This reflects lower-than-expected demand for employer nominated visas

Migration Program Planning level (previously announced)

Reduced to 160,000 for the next four years
* Further details on the migration planning levels are provided in the article below

Skilled Migration Points Test – Secondary Skilled Migrants

From November 2019, points test will be adjusted to award additional points, to the primary applicants, where their partner has competent English, but cannot meet the requirements for skilled partner points
Single applicants will also be awarded additional points to ensure they are not disadvantaged – how this will occur has not been detailed

New Regional Visas (previously announced) – RSMS (Subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (Subclass 489) to go

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas will be introduced from 1 November 2019
The RSMS (Subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (Subclass 489) will be discontinued
‘Enhanced’ compliance activities will also be implemented for these visas
* Further details on these new regional visas is provided in the article below

Extension of Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa for regional graduates (previously announced)

An additional 12 month second post-study work visa for international graduates providing a total of three years
* Further details on these new regional visas is provided in the article below

Destination Australia Program – Regional study for international students (previously announced)

Scholarships for international and domestic students to study in regional Australia for higher education or vocational education qualifications

Trades Recognition Australia – Full cost recovery (previously announced)

Fees for skills assessments related to migration, employment and licensing will be collected by TRA and be fully recovered

Work and Holiday Visa Cap Increased – Indonesia

Annual cap for WHV (Subclass 462) for Indonesian citizens will be increased from 2,500 to 5,000 over the six years to 2014/25

Better Targeting of Support for Refugees (previously announced)

Newly arrived refugees only required to enter into Jobactive services after receiving income support for 12 months, an increase of 6 months from the previous requirement
Designed to assist refugees to focus on settlement and language assistance during that 12 month period
Full Jobactive access will be provided to refugees who seek to use its services on a voluntary basis anytime from arrival, provided they are eligible for Jobactive.

Regional Processing Arrangements – Christmas Island

$178.9 million allocated to transfer IMAs from Nauru and PNG to Christmas Island for medical treatment
Any IMAs on Christmas Island will be returned to Nauru and PNG and the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre will be closed by 1 July 2019

Regional Processing Arrangements – Independent Health Advice Panel (IHAP)

$8 million funding allocated to the IHAP for monitor, assess and report on the physical and mental health of transitory person in regional processing countries and the standards of health services being provided to them

Better Distribution of Medical Practitioners

Extends 2018-19 Visas for General Practitioners – targeting areas of doctor shortage to reduce the planning target by a further 155 overseas trained doctors

(Source: MIA)