The Australian budget has been deferred until 4 October 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and this will have implications for all government departments including the Department of Home Affairs.
It is expected that the Department will consider changes to the Migration Program Planning Levels for 2020-21 due to COVID-19 and the likely higher levels of unemployment within the Australian workforce.
Migration numbers and state/territory nomination places have also been impacted, as well as the announcement of any changes to the occupation lists.
At this stage, the Department has indicated that the 2019-20 Migration Program settings will remain in place until further notice and will also shortly announce how state/territory nominations will be managed in the lead up to the October Budget.
State and Territories Migration Programs
The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program for 2019/20 financial year has now closed.
The State and Territories nomination program will remain temporarily closed until the Australian Government allocates state nomination places for 2020-21. State & Territory governments therefore have no ability to nominate applicants in visa subclass 190 & visa subclass 491.
Please note that this will have no impact on visa applications lodged before 1 July or other visa streams.
The business visa program are also closed in all states, although WA has not confirmed this yet.
Indonesia-Australia Free Trade Agreement Commences 5 July 2020
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) commenced yesterday, 5 July 2020.
This IA-CEPA is included in the list of agreements specified in Legislative Instrument LIN 20/029: Determination of International Trade Obligations Relating to Labour Market Testing 2020 and specifies the LMT conditions relevant to s140GBA where an international trade agreement is in force between Australia and another country.
Financial Year 2020/21
No increase has been announced to VACs or other charges as is usual at the start of each financial year. An increase may still be announced with the 23 July Treasurer's update or in the October Federal Budget.
An increase in credit card service charges has previously been announced by the Department.
If you pay for your visa application charges, sponsorship or nomination fees by credit card or by PayPal, a surcharge may apply. The current surcharge rates are:
- American Express — 1.40%
- Diners Club International — 1.99%
- JCB — 1.40%
- Mastercard* — 1.40%
- PayPal — 1.01%
- Union Pay — 1.90%
- Visa* — 1.40%
*The surcharge will also apply to Debit Visa cards and Debit Mastercards when making payments.
An increase in fees for the AAT and Federal Courts have been previously announced and are available here.