New Australian government planning to bring some changes to Australia’s immigration rules this year. Here’s what is expected and what’s going to come in 2023.
The new Australian Federal government lead by Australian Labor’s Anthony Albanese has already made some significant changes to Australia’s migration policies and already started tackling the on-going visa backlog since coming into office in May 2022.
It is expected that there could be even more changes in 2023, with the government promising to look at the effectiveness of skilled migration occupation lists, which some believe are outdated.
The last update to the current Skilled Migration Occupation List was made on 11 March 2019 then the COVID-19 pandemic had just started.
After winning the election, the Australian government announced an increase to the Australian permanent migration numbers in 2022/23 from 160,000 to 195,000 places for skilled and family visas. The October budget revealed the number of skilled visas available as part of the program is almost doubled from 79,600 to 142,400.
The Australian Federal government also announced changes to Temporary skill shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visas that would allow people to apply for permanent residency, the removal of age restrictions on 457 visa holders, and expanding the eligibility for subclass 462 working holiday maker visas.
Here are five key Australian visa opportunities in Australia for 2023.
1. State-sponsored Permanent Visas
According to Australian Department of Home Affairs spokesperson, it had set a planning level of 31,000 places for state and territory nominated visas (subclass 190) in 2022/23, as well as a further 34,000 places in the regional category (subclass 491), the majority of which are nominated by state and territory governments.
There will be another 5,000 visas for the business innovation and investment program (subclass 188).
Former Department of Immigration secretary Abul Rivzi stated the quantity of visas to be hadthru the country and territories is ready to dramatically growthway tothe biggerlocal allocation. “What I’m noticing is some of the states are actually struggling to deliver quickly enough and so a lot of them are making changes to make their systems faster,” Mr Rizvi said.
Back in 2018/19 before the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted Australia’s migration numbers, about 25,346 state and territory nominated visas were granted and just 647 skilled regional visas.
States and territories have increasingly relaxed many of their criteria, including their skilled occupation lists, to make it easier for people to apply for state-nominated visas.
One of the biggest advantages of a state-sponsored visa is not being tied to a particular employer – although applicants have to be younger than 45 years old and have to also find their own jobs.
Most recently NSW changed the requirements for its visa applicants .
“Previously published points scores and work experience guides for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) have been removed due to increased availability of the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) by the Department of Home Affairs,” a notice on the NSW Government website states.
Mr Rivzi said he expected much higher numbers of people would also be granted Skilled Independent visas (subclass 189) this financial year, compared to the last two years when COVID-19 shut down Australia’s borders.
2. Change to processing of visas
Skilled visa applications for teachers and healthcare workers are now being assessed in just three days after the government stopped using the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to rank applications.
Ministerial Direction No. 100, introduced on 28 October 2022, set new rules for applications to be prioritised. Applications are now being decided in the following order of priority:
1. Healthcare or teaching occupation applications;
2. For employer-sponsored visas, applicants nominated by an Approved sponsor with Accredited Status;
3. Those for a designated regional area;
4. For permanent and provisional visa subclasses, visa applications that count towards the migration program, excluding the Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional)) visa;
5. All other visa applications.
Within each category, priority is given to applicants located outside Australia for provisional and permanent skilled visa applications.
3. Easier family reunion
The Albanese government has made it easier for families to reunite, introducing demand-driven partner visas in 2022/23.
This means there is no limit to the number of these visas issued. The department is estimating it will issue around 40,500 partner visas this financial year.
Child visas are also demand-driven and an estimated 3,000 visas are expected to be issued.
4. New visa for certain countries
A new visa will be introduced in July 2023 providing 3,000 places for eligible migrants from Pacific countries and Timor Leste.
Spots for the Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will be allocated by a ballot process each year.
These visas will be offered on top of the places available on Australia’s permanent migration program.
5. Priority processing for New Zealanders
New Zealanders living in Australia will benefit from priority processing of Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa applications in the New Zealand stream.
The department has dropped certain visa requirements including that applicants must have lived in Australia for at least five years and that they meet certain taxable income thresholds as well as health criteria.
The department has stopped taking new visa applications from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023, in order to process the backlog already in the system.