AUSTRALIA – Impact of the 2024-2025 Federal Budget on Migration Policy

May 20, 2024

On May 14, 2024, the Australian government handed down the 2024-2025 Federal Budget. In this update, we outline the key points from the Budget affecting Australia’s immigration policies.

Permanent Migration Program Planning for 2024-25

The Australian Government has set a target of 185,000 places for the 2024-2025 permanent Migration Program, with 70 percent of places (132,200 places) dedicated to skilled migrants. Net overseas migration is projected to decrease by 110,000 from July 2024, dropping from 528,000 in 2022-2023 to an estimated 260,000 in 2024-2025.

Visa Updates

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

Starting November 2024, the work experience requirement for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa will be reduced from two years to one year, facilitating quicker access for skilled workers.

Work and Holiday Visa

A new ballot process will be introduced for the Work and Holiday visas (subclass 462) for applicants from China, Vietnam and India starting in 2024-2025. This process, which includes an AUD 25 application fee, aims to manage demand and streamline application processing.

Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-Professionals Scheme (MATES)

Launching in November 2024, this program will offer 3,000 Indian graduates and professionals a two-year visa in Australia. A ballot process similar to the work and holiday visa will apply.

New National Innovation Visa

Replacing the Global Talent visa, the new National Innovation visa aims to attract exceptionally talented migrants in sectors of national importance starting late 2024.

Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP)

This program will cease, with refunds of the visa application charge provided from September 2024 for those who withdraw their application.

Student Visa

The government plans to introduce intake limits on international student places. Places were previously uncapped.

Regional Partnership

An AUD 505.9 million investment over five years will deepen Australia’s engagement with Southeast Asia, including measures to enhance visa access and provide long-term business visas for ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste, promoting regional collaboration and economic ties.

In relation to the new partnership with India, the validity of the Business Visitor visa (subclass 600) for Indian nationals will be extended from three years to five years.

Migration System Planning, Reforms and Funding

Migration Program Planning

From 2025-2026, the planning horizon will extend from one year to four years to enhance management and stability.

Introduction of Administrative Review Tribunal

An AUD 1 billion initiative over five years will establish the Administrative Review Tribunal (ART), replacing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). This investment aims to eliminate backlogs and improve the efficiency of migration decision reviews, ensuring a more responsive and fair system.

Heightened Emphasis on Compliance

The government will allocate AUD 100 million to the Department of Home Affairs for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to enhance core functions. This will help bolster the Australian Border Force operations, immigration compliance efforts, and maintenance of essential systems supporting these operations and services.

AUD 18.3 million will also be invested over four years to reform the migration system, focusing on economic growth and maintaining system integrity. AUD 15 million will support educational programs to inform migrant workers about their rights and protections under Australian law, while AUD 1.9 million is allocated for a pilot project to crossmatch income and employment data between the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Taxation Office to prevent worker exploitation.

Newland Chase Insights

Although the reduction in the net migration target signifies a tightening of migration intake, having 70 percent of the target 185,000 places for 2024-2025 allocated to skilled migrants reflects the Australian government’s strategic focus on economic growth by competing for highly skilled talent. Significant investment is also aimed at improving the migration system with a focus on protecting migrant workers, increased employer compliance and regional collaboration enhancement.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Case for any case- or company-specific assessments.