It is not a new practice for the Australian Immigration Department to introduce a few changes here and there every fiscal year. However, the year of July 2023 to June 2024 is set for some major policy changes that will greatly impact your immigration, travel or even study plans to Australia.
The good news is, most of these policies will be very much in your favour as the Australian government is seriously motivated to make their residency experience in whichever form more attractive compared to the USA or Canada for example.
So, let’s get right into it!
1. Increase in Employer-Sponsored Skilled Visa Quota
The Australian workforce is awaiting nearly 37,000 migrant professionals this year under the Employer Sponsored Skilled Visa stream alone. The occupation list remains just as broad as the years before, making this visa category the only stream that has increased its migration quota (36,825 places; previous allocation 35,000)
In addition, 3 other skilled visa streams, namely the Skilled Independent visa, the Skilled Regional visa, and the State Nominated Skilled visa all pack in a rather big number of allocation each which isn’t significantly less than the previous years. In total, the skilled migration allocations appear somewhat as the illustration below:
2. Greater Pay for Employer-Sponsored Migrants
Annual minimum salary threshold will jump by 17,000 AUD, which sounds far more lucrative if you consider that the previous threshold was 53,000 AUD. Starting July 1st, 70,000 AUD is the new threshold, which means that employers (sponsors) of skilled migrants can not pay less than this.
That’s amazing news especially if you’re looking to apply for the Employer Sponsored Visa which is also one of the only skilled visas that received more allocations compared to the previous year (36,825 places; previous allocation 35,000)
3. No Minimum Income Requirement for 491 Visa
This relates to the salary upgrade above. Previously, there was a requirement for a minimum salary for 491 provisional visa holders if they wanted to become eligible for the permanent visa Subclass 191. This minimum salary used to be 53,000 AUD, and therefore, as per the new salary upgrade, it should have been 73,000 AUD.
However, even though there will most certainly be an upgrade in salary, this will only be mandatory for employers to pay migrants the upgraded salary. It will not be compulsory for migrant professionals to show such an income in order to apply for a Subclass 191 PR visa. Click here to learn more about it.
4. Family Migration Allocation Stays the Same
With 52,500 allocations as the previous year, this one’s a pleasant relief for parents, children and spouses who are hoping to join their families in Australia. Furthermore, family migration visas are one of the most flexible in the aspect that these are highly “demand-driven.’’
What’s that you ask? It simply means that even if the 52,500 limit is reached, the immigration department will allow more applications based on the demand for more of these family visas.
The quotas for Australian family migration in 2023-24 and the previous year are illustrated in the following table:
5. SUBCLASS 482: TSS Permanent Residence pathway
- Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa holders now have a chance for Australian permanent residency. This is applicable to:
- TSS visa holders who are living in Australia for at least one year between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021.
Medium-term stream TSS visa holders who have their occupation listed on the Regional Occupation List.
To apply for Permanent Residency, one needs to apply under the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), subclass 186 visa.
On 13 February 2023, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced that it has extended the recent changes made to the permanent residence pathway for Short-term Stream Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa holders. This will be effective until 1 July 2024.
6. International Students’ Work Options
48 hours of bi-weekly work permit on/off-campus is going to be an amazing boost to the finances of working students starting July 1st. Let’s give you an estimate:
- 21.38 AUD as an hourly rate is the legally mandated minimum wage in Australia, and no employer can pay less than that to an Australian citizen or a non-citizen.
- 25 – 35 AU$ per hour is earned with ease by international students who do a wide range of jobs of their choice. That averages to 1200 to 1500 AUD per fortnight.
7. No Restriction for Students Working in Aged Care
The 48-hours bi-weekly work allowance will not limit students who are working at aged care centres. These students will have the privilege of earning from as many hours of work as they need.
Aged care centres house elderly people whose needs and urgencies cannot be compromised for the sake of strict schedules. Hence aged care centres need full-time workers who are not limited by time restrictions, and therefore the Australian government has made such an allowance for students in this sector.
8. Stay More Years on Post-Study Work Visas
International students will be allowed to stay and work for 4-6 years on Post-study Work visas in addition to the previous student visa period.
The Australian government has added 2 years on each study level under Temporary Graduate and Post-Study Work visas as follows
- Bachelor’s degrees (4 years instead of 2 years)
- Masters degrees (5 years instead of 3 years) and
- PhDs (6 years instead of 4 years)
International students can benefit from the extra years of residency by gathering more work experience in Australia which will help them score higher points for onshore skilled migration starting 2023.
9. Fast-tracked Australian PR for New Zealanders; Subclass 189 Requirements Eased
Starting 1st July 2023, New Zealanders will no longer be required to meet any income ceiling and health status requirement to apply for Australian PR.
The following terms will help to understand the more flexible requirements:
- No requirement of a minimum 5-year residency in Australia before the citizenship application
- No requirement to earn any predetermined taxable income
- Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 for health standards will no longer need to be satisfied.
- Higher salary for Employer-Sponsored Skilled migrants
- No minimum income requirement for the Subclass 491/191 (Regional visa) skilled pathway
- International students will enjoy more conveniently structured working hours in addition to the world-highest minimum wage.
- International students can take advantage of zero working restrictions if they work in ‘aged care facilities’
- Post-study work visas will gift 2 additional years on each study level; this can be better utilised to:
- apply for higher salary jobs
- add more experience-based points for skilled migration options
- TSS Visa holders will have a chance to avail Australian PR pathway
- New Zealanders will no longer need to satisfy income requirements or health standards to apply for Australian PR
While these changes have already started to take place, we believe there are more changes to come in the months following July. The Australian immigration department has a ‘right to information’ policy where they make this information available to you. The Department has also equipped registered migration agents, like ourselves, with the responsibility to convey all necessary updates to you. Bridging West will dedicatedly provide you with regular updates on the status of Australian immigration rules and policy and make your Australian migration options easy. If you are planning to migrate, the first step would be to assess your eligibility, which we provide for free.