It has been quite the week for the Australian immigration program. Our CEO and Global Immigration Leader, Jamie Lingham, provides an outline and commentary of the impacts that are going to be experienced by employers of foreign workers and individual visa holders.
Last week’s announcement by the Hon Clare O’Neil in relation to significant changes to the program and yesterday’s budget announcement will be of interest to employers of overseas foreign nationals.
As often happens, the timing and practicality of proposed changes may not be in step with Ministerial announcements, and as the dust settles, we are getting clarity as to what this means for migrants and companies that sponsor workers who require a visa.
The key upcoming changes to the sponsored worker program include the increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to $70,000 (plus Super), and a pathway to employer nominated permanent residence for all 482 visa holders, who have held that visa for at least 2 years, regardless of the occupation.
In addition, last Friday’s announcement in relation to a new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement appears to set the tone for sponsors of workers in traditionally low-paid industries and our expectation is that similar announcements for the Child Care and Hospitality sectors are not far behind.
We welcome the proposed changes, but the devil will be in the detail as to how the permanent program will continue to cater to this cohort, especially when the government is calling for a reduced intake of migrants in subsequent years.
With the number of job vacancies currently sitting at 438,500 (at the time of writing), sudden and significant pay increases may only add fuel to the inflation fire, where bringing in skilled and experienced workers will be the respite that burnt-out Australian employees desperately need.
A further indication as to the intentions for the immigration program has come through yesterday’s announcement of the Government’s Federal Budget 2023. As one would expect, there are several impacts on employers of overseas foreign nationals.
We have provided a summary below and some suggestions as to actions that can be taken by individuals and companies to minimise the impacts that these changes will have on the bottom line.
Migration Places for 2023-24
The 2023-24 migration planning level will be 190,000 places, with 137,100 allocated to the skilled migration stream, which is 5,000 less than the places offered in the 2022-23 planning levels.
Increase to visa application fees
|Visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas||
|Business innovation and investment visas||
|Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas||
Exempt from increase
We would strongly encourage clients who can lodge visas before 1 July, to take steps to do so as a matter of priority.
Increase to Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The Government will increase the TSMIT from the current rate of $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July 2023.
- New nominations lodged ON or AFTER that date will be required to meet the new TSMIT of $70,000 or the annual market salary rate, whichever is higher.
- In the absence of grandfathering provisions, Nomination applications Lodged but not Decided by 1 July may be required to meet the new TSMIT. We are still waiting on confirmation as how the mechanics of this change will operate.
For clients who have not undertaken Labour Market Testing as per the method prescribed by The Department, we would encourage you to list this advertising as a matter of priority!
Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
An improved delivery model for the AMEP will be implemented within the existing funding. Changes will provide improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants by providing flexible tuition options, introducing a national curriculum, supporting professional development for teachers, and enhancing client support and performance management.
Temporary Graduate Post Study Rights
Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.
This is a massive win for employers and for graduating students.
International Students working hour cap
The working hour cap for international student visa holders will be reinstated from 1 July 2023, following its removal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be increased by 8 hours from pre-pandemic levels to 48 hours per fortnight.
International students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.
Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme
Additional training places will be created for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers in priority sectors for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and where there are job shortages in Australia.
Skills Assessment – Improved Skills Recognition
The Government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.
In addition, the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will ensure students from India and Australia will have greater certainty that the qualifications they attain will be recognised by both countries.
Please get in touch for further details, or if these changes are likely to affect you or you or your organisation. Email us at email@example.com to arrange an online consultation.
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