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Federal budget impact on immigration

The Federal Government has made its budget announcement and with Australia’s net overseas migration* forecast to see a loss of 72,000 people for 2020-21, it’s no surprise that there a number of changes within the budget aimed at boosting certain immigration pathways.

The below table displays the 2020-21 migration program planning levels as detailed on The Department’s website.

Temporary Visas

  • Migration cap of 160,000 places per year, introduced in 2019-20, will remain in place
  • Working Holiday Maker and visitor visa fees waived to boost tourism
  • Temporary visa holders impacted by the pandemic will be eligible to have their fees refunded

Partner and Family Visas

  • An English language requirement will also be introduced for partner visas and their permanent resident sponsors
  • The Government will apply the family sponsorship framework to Partner visas which will mandate character checks and the sharing of personal information as part of a mandatory sponsorship application, and subject the sponsor to enforceable sponsorship obligations
  • The family reunion stream will also be increased from 47,732 to 77,300 places, this includes 72,300 places in the partner category meaning there are only 5,000 places for families with children
  • Onshore visa applicants and Partner visa applicants where the relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area, will be prioritised

Global Talen and Business & Investment Visas

  • A new whole-of-government Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce will be established to attract international businesses and exceptional talent to Australia, to support the post- COVID recovery and boost local jobs
  • Global Talent Independent program allocation triples to 15,00 places
  • Increase in Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) to 13,500 places
  • BIIP focused on higher value investors, business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Visa application charges for BIIP visas will be increased by an additional 11.3 per cent (above regular CPI indexation) on 1 July 2021

Permanent Migration

New Zealand Pathway to permanent residency – the income eligibility requirement for the New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa. Eligibility for the Pathway will be extended to Special Category (subclass 444) visa holders who have a taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migrant Income Threshold (currently $53,900) for at least three of the last five income years, including the most recent year.

If you have any questions contact our team at

*Net overseas migration numbers measure how many people enter Australia and stay for more than 12 months, compared with how many people leave the country for the same period. Overseas migration usually accounts for almost two-thirds of population growth.

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