More Information on Australias New Migration Strategy

The Australian government unveiled its long-awaited Migration Strategy on 11th December and revealed the biggest reforms to migration, with particular focus on temporary skilled migration and
international education sector.

Let’s dig deeper - 

Temporary Skilled Migration:
The government revealed a new Skill in Demand visa, which once implemented will replace the current TSS visa. The key aspects of the new Skills in Demand visa are:

  • Three pathways – Specialists Skills, Core Skills, Essential Skills (set out in detail below;)
  • Time period – the visa will provide for a 4 year stay for all streams.
  • Service standards – a commitment to median processing time (21 days)
  • Simplified labour market testing - The government has eliminated the need to advertise positions through Workforce Australia and plans to extend the validity period of advertisements from 4 to 6 months.
  • Enhanced employee mobility - Visa holders will now have 180 days to secure a new sponsor if they end their employment with their current sponsor, up from the current 60-day period. Additionally, they are permitted to work during this transition period.
  • Expanded pathways to permanent residency - All visa holders will now have a route to PR, with time spent working for any approved employer contributing to their eligibility for PR.
  • Potential reduction in upfront employer costs - The government is considering a shift in employer fees to a monthly or quarterly model to alleviate initial financial burdens on employers.
  • Public sponsor register - A public register of approved sponsors will be established by the government, disclosing the numbers and occupations of sponsored workers. This register aims to aid migrants in their search for a new sponsor.


Three Pathways:

Special Skills Pathway The pathway entails the following key features and prerequisites:
  • Excludes occupation lists, with the exception of trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers.
  • Mandates annual earnings meeting the new Specialist Skills Threshold (initially set at $135,000, subject to annual indexing).
  • Promises swift processing, with the Government committing to a 7-day median visa processing time.
Core Skills Pathway The main characteristics and criteria of this pathway include:
  • It is poised to become the most extensive route for temporary skilled migrants.
  • A streamlined and routinely revised Core Skills Occupation List, featuring occupations identified by Jobs and Skills Australia as facing shortages or those agreed upon through international trade agreements.
  • Earnings must meet or exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently established at $70,000 but subject to annual indexing.
Essential Skills Pathway

The government is actively exploring strategies to enhance the
pathway for lower-paid workers with essential skills under the
Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT).

While the government acknowledges the ongoing role of labour
agreements, it commits to evaluating existing agreements and
revising guidelines for stronger worker protections in future


Permanent Skilled Migration:

The Strategy also encompasses prospective changes to the permanent skilled migration program, yet it offers less clarity regarding the nature of these modifications when compared to the temporary skilled visa program.

Key future reforms highlighted in the Strategy include:

  • Accumulation of time spent with any sanctioned employer contributing towards meeting permanent residence requirements.
  • Skills in Demand visa holders gaining access to self-nominated independent permanent pathways, alongside employer-sponsored options.
  • Revision of the points test to more effectively identify migrants poised to make significant contributions to Australia.
  • Exploration of a potential new Talent and Innovation visa, specifically designed to stimulate innovative investments and entrepreneurship.
  • The Government plans to engage in additional consultations on the permanent skilled migration program in 2024.

International Education System:

The Australian government has also included a number of proposed reforms to the international education sector and student visa program. Implementation of an innovative Genuine Student
assessment for all international students, replacing the existing ‘Genuine Temporary Entrant’ criterion. Further, heightened English prerequisite for international students will be introduced, as

  • IELTS 5.0 or equivalent for ELICOS student visa applicants.
  • IELTS 5.5 or equivalent for student visa applicants enrolled in foundation or pathway programs with accredited English language training.
  • IELTS 6.0 or equivalent for other student visa applicants.
  • IELTS 6.5 or equivalent for Temporary Graduate visa applicants.

Additionally, there will be a reduction in the duration of Temporary Graduate visas:

  • Bachelor’s degree or Masters by coursework: 2 years
  • Masters by research or PhD: 3 years
  • Students in regional areas will be eligible for a second visa, ranging from 1 to 2 years in duration depending on location.


Future Migration Strategy Focus:

  • Changes that have already been or soon to be implemented – such as the increase of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to $70,000.
  • New commitments that will be implemented by the end of 2024 – this includes the creation of a new temporary work visa, the strengthen of international education sectors, and strategies to simplify the migration system.


For more information on these updates, please contact IME Advisors and one of our expert migration agents will be happy to help!

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