Second Update to the Administration of the Immigration and Citizenship Programs Paper

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March 18, 2024

Recently, the Australian Government released a second addendum update to the 11th edition of The Administration of the Immigration and Citizenship Programs paper. We previously compiled some of the more intriguing insights from the first visa figure updates document. The latest document showcases the management of Australia’s Immigration Program in the context of a changing international environment. This update was released at the end of February 2024, providing the second release of information for the 2023-2024 financial year. At AustraliaMigrate, we have collated the most relevant information from this release.

Changes to the Australian Migration Strategy

Over the past 12 months, the Australian Government has worked to reform the nation’s migration system. It is committed to 8 key actions, including creating new skilled visa pathways, reshaping permanent skilled migration, strengthening the integrity of our study visa programs, deepening our ties with the Indo-Pacific, and more. The reforms aim to ensure that Australia’s migration system is targeted to build upon our economic prosperity and integrity.

General Visa Figures Updates

The Department of Home Affairs received nearly 4.8 million visa applications between 1 July 2023 and 31 December 2023. This is a 29.4% increase in lodgements compared with data from the same period in 2022. Refusal numbers have increased, but the rate has decreased from 8.6% to 7.1% due to the increase in lodgements. The rising refusal numbers are suggested to be due to the quality of applications lodged and an increase in risk and integrity assessment capabilities by visa decision-makers. To ensure you have the best chances with your own visa application, speak to the migration experts at AustraliaMigrate.

Temporary Skilled Work Changes

There have been over 26,000 new applications for temporary skilled visas since 1 July 2023. Due to the reforms, a number of changes have been made to temporary skilled visas over recent months. On 23 November, the government expanded pathways to permanent residence and provided a pathway for all streams of the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (Subclass 482). The amount of required work experience needed to access the Employer Nomination visa Temporary Residence Transition stream has dropped from three years to two years, allowing easier access to permanent residence for those on a sponsorship visa. On 11 December, the government also relaxed the Labour Market Testing requirements, meaning employers no longer have to advertise on the Workforce Australia website. They are only required to advertise the nominated position on two sites instead of three. Ministerial Direction No. 105 came into effect on 15 December. This direction aims to support regional Australia by streamlining visa processing for businesses located in the regions that are sponsoring skilled workers. This brings these visas to the highest priority in processing. There was a 31% increase in lodgements between 2021-22 to 2022-23, reflecting the economic conditions, as the TSS visa is demand-driven and used to fill shortages when no qualified Australians are available.

Temporary Graduate Visa Changes

The new migration strategy has included a raft of changes for graduate visas, changing how some might navigate post-graduation work opportunities. The duration of an initial Graduate Visa will be shorter and extensions of post-study work rights will no longer be available. Only applicants who studied in a regional area will be eligible for an extension. There are many other changes, including increasing the English level requirements and a reduction in the age limit from 50 to 35, set to reposition the visa as a product for early career professionals who may wish to stay in Australia for longer periods of time. The visa streams will also be simplified, with the Graduate Work Stream becoming the Post Vocational Education Work Visa and the Post Study Work Stream becoming the Post Higher Education Work Visa. Our blog on visa changes in 2024 unpacks some of this information in more detail.

Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme Update

The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is a temporary migration program that allows eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from across nine Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste. The scheme enables visa holders from these countries to work in Australia on either a seasonal or longer-term work placement, anywhere from between 9 months to 4 years. Demand from employers seeking to join this scheme continues to grow each year. As of 31 December 2023, 13,073 PALM visas were granted. For the year up to 31 December 2023, 75% of PALM visa applications were finalised within 7 days, highlighting how these visas can quickly support industry and employer needs, especially in regional areas.

 

Australia’s immigration system is a dynamic area of ever-changing policy. As the government continues to turn its strategy into action this year, visa applicants will have to juggle much uncertainty and confusion. These updates from their latest paper reveal the complexity of this process, highlighting the need to get clear and up-to-date advice on every aspect of the visa process. Whenever you feel ready to begin navigating the world of Australian Visas, speak to our expert team to ensure you have the right information and expertise to ensure you have the best chance at success. Contact us today and start your migration journey.

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