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Major changes proposed to improve Australia’s migration system

02 May 2023

2 min read

#Immigration Law

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Major changes proposed to improve Australia’s migration system

The federal government has released a draft Migration Strategy outlining a ‘once in a generation reform’ of Australia’s current migration program. This comes after a review that found the current program “not fit for purpose”, with unclear objectives and shortcomings in attracting the most highly skilled migrants and enabling business to efficiently access workers. 

While some changes will come into effect from 1 July 2023, it may take some time before we see any significant change. 

Over the next two months, the government will undertake consultation with state and territory governments and key stakeholders on the outline of the Migration Strategy and critical policy shifts, with the final strategy to be released later this year. 

For employers, some of the proposals outlined in the Migration Strategy include:

  • doing away with outdated and inflexible occupation lists
  • providing a fast, simple pathway for specialised, highly skilled workers
  • allowing employers to pay large visa costs monthly rather than upfront
  • broadening the program to encompass skills at all levels.

Although it’s too early to predict precisely what the new migration program will look like, it is pleasing to see a thorough review with consultation being undertaken. 

Increase to Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from 1 July

Aside from the Migration Strategy, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil also announced an increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) from $53,900 to $70,000 on 1 July 2023. This is the first increase since 2013 and will mainly impact businesses in regional areas. It is not yet known whether the increase in TSMIT will affect Designated Area Migration Agreements or Industry Labour Agreements.

TSMIT is assessed at the time of deciding an employer nomination application. This means there is a risk that any application lodged between now and 1 July that is not finalised by 30 June will be subject to the higher TSMIT.

Pathway to permanent residence for skilled temporary workers

Minister O’Neil also announced that by the end of 2023, all skilled temporary workers will have a pathway to permanent residency. This is great news for those temporary employer sponsored visa holders who currently don’t have a pathway to permanent residence.

We will continue to monitor for developments in the coming months. If you have any questions about how the proposed changes may impact you, please get in touch with a member of our team below.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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