BUDGET 2020 – Immigration Update

Here are few excerpts from the Budget paper:

COVID-19 Response Package — refunds and waivers of Visa Application Charges

The Government will refund or waive the visa application charge (VAC) for temporary visa holders affected by the COVID-19 travel ban.

Prospective Marriage, Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme visa holders will be able to access a VAC refund.

Temporary skilled workers and visitor visa holders will be eligible to have the VAC for a subsequent visa application waived, to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions are lifted.

Working holiday makers will be eligible to have the VAC for a subsequent visa application waived, to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions are lifted or otherwise be able to access a VAC refund.

VAC refunds and waivers will be available to current visa holders who are unable to travel until the border reopens.

Migration Program — 2020-21 planning levels

The Government will maintain the 2020-21 Migration Program planning level at 160,000.

Family Stream places will increase from 47,732 to 77,300 places on a one-off basis for the 2020-21 Migration Program year.

Employer Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program visas will be prioritised within the Skilled Stream.

Onshore visa applicants and Partner visa applicants where the relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area will also be prioritised for the 2020-21 Migration Program.

Migration Program — changes to the Business Innovation and Investment Program

From 1 July 2021, the Government will streamline and improve the operation of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP). The Government will introduce changes to improve the quality of investments and applicants. Visa application charges for BIIP visas will also be increased by an additional 11.3 per cent (above regular CPI indexation) on 1 July 2021. These changes will sharpen the focus of the BIIP program on higher value investors, business owners and entrepreneurs and improve the economic outcomes of the BIIP.

Migration Program — enhancing Family Stream migration outcomes

The Government will apply the family sponsorship framework to Partner visas which will mandate character checks and the sharing of personal information as part of a mandatory sponsorship application, and subject the sponsor to enforceable sponsorship obligations. These changes will complement existing family violence provisions within the Partner visa program. The Government will introduce English language requirements for Partner visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors. These changes will help support English language acquisition and enhance social cohesion and economic participation outcomes.

Source: https://budget.gov.au/2020-21/content/bp2/download/bp2_complete.pdf

SUMMARY OF EXPECTED CHANGES

  • 2020-21 Migration Program ceiling will remain at 160,000 places.
  • Family stream increased to 77,300 (72,300 places will be allocated to partner visa applicants). While this could be an indication to clear the massive partner visa application backlog that currently sits at 100,000, it could also mean a significant cut for places in the parent category.
  • Onshore visa applicants and Partner visa applicants where the relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area, will be prioritised for the 2020-21 Migration Program – Meaning offshore Partner visa applicants could still have to wait longer. Alternatively, onshore applicants may be lured to move to regional areas for faster processing (thereby boosting economy of regional Australia).
  • English language requirements will be introduced for Partner visa applicants and the Sponsor – Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the new English language requirement for partner visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors announced as part of the Federal Budget will be a ‘basic language competency test’ aimed at enabling migrants to get the best out of life in Australia
  • Business, Investment and Innovation Program will be increased to 13,500 places – Clearly the government is seeking high net worth business owners and investors to boost economy.
  • Global Talent Independent program will be tripled to 15,000 places – This could affect number of places available for other skilled visas, but it’s going to help the economy and open doors for highly skilled and talented indviduals!

 

Net Overseas Migration

The 2020 budget estimates reveal that Australia will suffer its first negative net overseas migration since the Second World War in a major blow to the country’s economy already bruised by the pandemic.

Net migration numbers are expected to fall from 154,000 in the 2019-20 financial year to a net loss of 72,000 in 2020-21 and 21,600 in 2021-22, before gradually increasing to about 201,000 over the next four years.

Interested to know more?

Click here to book a consultation with one of our friendly consultants. You may also fill out the Online Assessment Form to know your eligibility for a visa to Australia.

Disclaimer
The above article constitutes only generic information on migration issues, and does not constitute specific migration advice to any entity or individual.

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