The Australian government released its much anticipated and comprehensive Migration Strategy on 11 December 2023, with a policy roadmap containing 8 key actions and over 25 new policy commitments and areas for future reform.
What are the key actions?
Going forward, the key actions have been identified as:
- Introduction of a new Skills in Demand visa (see here for a more detailed analysis) with three targeted pathways, and visa settings that encourage migrant worker mobility in the labour market.
- A commitment to explore a reformed points test for permanent skilled migration, and a new Talent and Innovation visa for migrants who can drive growth in sectors of national importance.
- A package of integrity measures to lift the standards for international students and education providers, while ensuring graduates help meet skills shortages and do not become ‘permanently temporary’.
- A comprehensive suite of legislation, powers, penalties and policies to combat worker exploitation and restore integrity to the migration system.
- A longer-term, evidence-based approach to planning migration that closely collaborates with states and territories and ensures population planning is based on the best available population data and forecasts.
- A new direction to ensure visas for regional Australia are prioritised first, and a commitment to evaluating regional migration settings and the Working Holiday Maker program to ensure migration supports development objectives in regional Australia and does not contribute to worker exploitation.
- A new approach to developing people-to-people links with our region, including through a direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders and increased mobility with Pacific Island and Southeast Asian countries.
- A system-wide simplification agenda that will streamline visa settings, reduce visa classes and make the system easier to use.
Where can you expect the implementation?
- The release of the new Skills in demand visa in late 2024.
- Streamlined Labour Marke Testing requirements by removing Workforce Australia requirements in late 2023, and introducting 4-6 month LMT validity from late 2024.
- Minimum salary level (TSMIT) indexation from 1 July 2024.
- Increased English requirements for Student visa applications by early 2024.
Do you require further assistance?
While these timelines and changes are subject to regulatory and legislative changes, this is welcome news for employers, potential visa applicants, and the Australian economy. They represent a once in a decade update to Australia’s migration program. If you have further queries about the above, or have any other immigration related queries, get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at +61 3 9016 0484.