Upcoming Immigration Changes in 2024:

The Australian government has released its new Migration Strategy, which highlights and explores the new vision for Australia’s migration system. Here’s what to expect:

Skills in Demand Visa:

The government will implement a Skills in Demand visa, which will replace TSS 482 visa. The key attribute of the visa includes:

  • Time period – the visa will provide for a 4-year stay for all streams.
  • Service standard – a commitment to median processing times of 21 days.
  • Increased employee mobility – visa holders will have 180 days to find a new sponsor if they cease employment with their sponsor.
  • Increased pathways to permanent residency – all visa holders will have a pathway to PR, and time spent with approved employers will count towards PR eligibility.

The new Skills in Demand visa also includes 3 targeted pathways to encourage migration & mobility in Australia’s labour market. These pathways include ~

  1. Specialists Skills Pathway – for highly skilled migrants that are beneficial to Australia’s national productivity with promised earrings of at least AUD $135,000. All workers, excluding trades workers, machinery operators, drivers and labourers will be eligible for this stream.
  2. Core Skills Pathway – this stream relates to occupations identified by Jobs and Skills Australia as being in shortage and earing as least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.
  3. Essential Skills Pathway – This pathway includes workers paid below AUD $70,000. Workers in this pathway are currently sponsored through labour agreements.

Points Test & Talent and Innovation Visa:

  • Additionally, the Australian government will investigate a revised Points Test for permanent skilled migration and introduce a new Talent and Innovation visa for migrants who can stimulate growth in sectors of interest to Australia.
  • Points Test: The points test will undergo a review, incorporating the development of a new analysis to identify and select migrants who will make the greatest contribution to the country more effectively.
  • Talent & Innovation Visa: This visa aims to attract a smaller number of highly talented and innovative migrants to Australia.

Student SC500 Visas:

  • The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for student applications will be replaced with a Genuine Student (GC) requirement. This change aims to assist the Department of Home Affairs in ensuring that applications come from genuine students.
  • In early 2023, the Australian Government will raise the English language requirements for Student visas. This increase is intended to better support students' learning and employment outcomes.
  • Additionally, the required test score for Student visas will rise from IELTS 5.5 to 6.0.
    • The required test score for students undertaking an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) before their main study will increase from 4.5 to 5.0.
    • Students undertaking university foundation courses that provide reputable English training will need to achieve a score equivalent to 5.5.

Simplified Temporary Graduate SC485 visas:

  • Changes will be made to the duration of post-study visas; however, Australia's Temporary Graduate visa will still offer ample time to acquire valuable work experience.
  • The duration of Temporary Graduate Visas has been revised as follows:
    • Bachelor's degree or Master's by coursework: 2 years
    • Masters by research or PhD: 3 years
  • Students in regional areas: eligibility for 1-2 years depending on the location.
  • Individuals who secure employment in a skilled occupation during their post-study work period may qualify to apply for the new 4-year Skills in Demand Visa, which offers a clear pathway to permanent residency.

Closure of the 408 Covid Visa:

  • Pandemic Event 408 Covid visa holders can apply for a subsequent visa until the visa program closes in February 2024, starting from 2nd September 2023.
  • All other visa holders will no longer be eligible for the Pandemic Event visa from 2nd September 2023.
  • Visa applications submitted before 2nd September will be assessed for a 12-month validity, with Temporary Graduate 485 visa holders considered for 2 years.

Visa Application Fee:

  • An increase will take place from July 2024.

Significant number of changes came into effect on 25th November, these include:

  • A pathway from the 186 Temporary Residence Transition stream to the Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186.
  • Applicants sponsored under Labour Agreements can benefit from reduced processing times.
  • Subclass 309, 820, 801, and 485 visas can now be granted regardless of the applicant's location or the time of grant.
  • Subclass 309 visa applicants now have direct access to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for review of visa refusals.

Migration Program Planning

  • The Australian government plans to extend migration planning beyond the current 12-month cycle to address critical skill shortages and enhance collaboration with states and territories.
  • Net overseas migration is projected to decline from 510,000 in the 2022-23 financial year to 375,000 in the following financial year (2023-2024) and further to 250,000 in 2024-25.
  • The number of international students increased to 270,000 in 2022-23, up from 170,000 in 2018-19 prior to COVID. This increase was partly driven by students returning to Australia after being forced to study online and offshore during the pandemic.
  • Temporary visa holders, including Temporary Skilled, Working Holiday Maker, and COVID pandemic event visa holders, accounted for 180,000 places in 2022-23, up from 100,000 in 2018-19.

For more information on these updates, please contact IME Advisors and we’ll be happy to help you through your migration journey.