Earlier this September at the Jobs & Skills Summit 2022, the Australian Labour Government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had lifted the 2022-23 total migration cap from 160,000 to 195,000 to allow for higher Skilled Migration Visa allocations. This was in response to post-pandemic Labour shortages voiced by employers, businesses and union leaders.
1,09,900 places (out of 195,000) were tentatively announced for total skilled migration. The newly revised allocation for Australian Skilled Migration now stands at a record 1,42,400 places as approved at the Federal Budget meeting. This significant increase comes at the Labour Government’s commitment to allocate $576 million in a span of 4 years to expand permanent skilled and parent visas, with major focus on offshore applications.
Outcomes of the Federal Budget 2022-23 for Australian Immigration
- Skilled Migration places significantly increased to 1,42,400 (previously 79,600)
- Parent Visa allocations nearly doubled from 4,500 to 8,500.
- $576 million allocated to the Department of Home Affairs over 4 years
- International students can work over 40 hours a fortnight till June 2023.
- Post-graduate work permit extended to 2 years for international students
General Skilled Migration
Skilled independent visas (Subclass 189) received a maximum allocation of 32,000 for 2022-23 among all permanent skilled visas, a nearly 500% increase compared to its previous allocation of 6,500 (2021-2022). Trailing close is Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190) with 31,000 allocations (previously 11,200).
Skilled work (regional) visa (Subclass 491) and Employer Sponsored Skilled Visa (Subclass 494) with 34,000 and 35,000 places respectively rank high overall among general skilled visas with maximum opportunities. These provisional visas will remain in high demand for being pathways to Australian permanent residency.
Parent visas received an allocation of 8,500 places (previously 4,500). This is yet another upgrade to the state of Australian parent visas thanks to the Albanese government. Child visa places remained stable at the previous 3,000 cap, however, partner visas will see a dip with 40,500 allocations (previously 72,300).
Unrestricted Working Hours for International Students
International students will no longer be restricted to working less than 40 hours per fortnight. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his administration had been strategically contemplating short-term solutions to tackle the post-pandemic labor shortage with ready availability of workers. Granting above 40 hours of biweekly work to international students is set to be an efficient step towards reducing the labor shortages.
Additional 2 Years Post-study Work-right
Furthermore, 2 years of extended work rights for international students holding post-study work visas have been confirmed by Jason Claire, the Australian Minister of Education. The 2 years extension will be granted on all categories of post-study education levels–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). Based on the data quoted by Minister Jason Claire, 16% percent of international students remain in Australia after completing their academics. Extending their post-study work periods is a strategic step to give greater incentive to these students to stay a longer period in Australia, which shall ultimately lead to more students joining the Australian workforce, thus reducing the labor shortage crisis.
Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil said,
“International education is an important Australian industry that has been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
The outcomes from the Jobs and Skills Summit are geared towards supporting international education and giving the students who earn degrees in Australia the chance to contribute to the productivity of our economy.”
$576 Million to Expand and Speed-up the Migration Programs
The Albanese government rolled out its plan to fund the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) with $576 million over 4 years to restructure its visa processing model. This funding is to achieve a long-term goal of gradually increasing Australia’s permanent and offshore visa allocation and equipping the DHA with greater capacity to process these visas. This was a major follow-up considering that the Albanese government has recently discussed a plan to spend $36.1 million on hiring more staff and restructuring the visa processing system in a successful attempt to reduce permanent and offshore visa processing delays. The fund will also be used to maintain offshore visa processing centers as well as to provide quick support for refugees.
The outcomes of the Federal Budget 2022 has yet again seen the Australian government strategically follow up on its quest to tackle the huge demand for labor immigrants by significantly expanding skilled migration opportunities. With a never before seen increase in skilled visa places, 2022-23 is perhaps set to be the most opportunistic period for all Australian skilled visa applicants around the globe.
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