The 2023/24 Federal Budget is officially public knowledge and introduces significant changes to our immigration system – ones that we are mostly in agreeance with. The strategic shift aims to simplify the migration system, address skill shortages, and provide opportunities for diverse groups, including international students and women. Let’s take a deep dive and explore the budget to better understand how it will shape Australia’s immigration landscape.
1: Increase in visa application charges
2: Increase resources to enhance visa processing
3: Addressing skill shortages by allocating 70% of migration places to skilled visas
4: Opportunities for international students offering uncapped working hours for certain industries
- Visa Application Charges: The budget outlines a substantial increase in visa application charges, starting from 1 July 2023. Visa application charges will rise by 6 percent overall, with select visitor and temporary visa subclasses seeing a 15 percent increase. Business innovation and investment visas will increase by a rather significant 40 percent. While these changes may impact employers through increased costs, the government have reassured us that a significant portion will be reinvested into the infrastructure of immigration system allowing for a more streamlined application process.
- Enhanced Visa Processing Resources: To improve enforcement and compliance activities, the budget allocates $75.8 million over two years, starting from 2023-24, to extend visa processing resources. This investment will help streamline visa processing and address existing backlogs. By bolstering enforcement measures, the government aims to maintain the integrity of the migration system while providing more efficient services to businesses and applicants.
- Addressing Skills Shortages: The budget responds to the forecasted net overseas migration of 400,000 for 2022-23 by focusing on providing employers with greater access to a skilled workforce and global talent pools. The government acknowledges the importance of addressing skills shortages and aims to streamline the immigration system to facilitate the entry of skilled migrants. This strategic approach will support industries in meeting their employment needs and driving economic growth.
- Opportunities for International Students: International students play a vital role in Australia’s education and workforce sectors. The budget extends the uncapped working hours for international students employed in the aged care sector until December 31, 2023, to meet the increased demand for skilled workers in this field. This measure supports international students in gaining valuable work experience while contributing to critical sectors. We will also see a focus on improving job readiness for international students making the transition into the workforce. Streamlined pathways to permanent residency will also be introduced for certain student graduates. In addition, an extra two years of post-study work rights to Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees will also be introduced in order to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in critical sectors.
Australia’s Budget 2023 underscores the government’s commitment to transforming the immigration program by prioritizing skills and employability. The introduction of increased visa application charges, extended visa processing resources, and targeted funding to support women and address skills shortages reflects a strategic effort to strengthen the country’s workforce and economy. While employers may face higher visa application costs, they can also expect improved access to skilled workers. By embracing these changes, Australia aims to build a robust and inclusive immigration system that meets the evolving needs of the nation.
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