On 11 December 2023, the Australian government released its much anticipated and comprehensive Migration Strategy, with a policy roadmap containing 8 key actions and over 25 new policy commitments and areas for future reform. One of the most significant key actions is the creation of a new Skills in Demand visa, with three targeted pathways.
What are the pathways?
The Government is expected to introduce a new 4-year temporary skilled worker visa with various modes to target varying immigration requirements. The three modes, or pathways, are expected to include:
The first pathway is the Specialist Skills Pathway, which is slated to include a new streamlined approach for highly skilled specialists to ensure Australia can quickly and easily recruit top talent in areas of need. The Specialist Skills Pathway is expected to be available to applicants who meet the general employer sponsored eligibility criteria (for example, be nominated by an approved employer, meet the health and character requirements) and are:
- in any occupation except trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers;
- and earning at least $135,000 (the Specialist Skills Threshold) and no less than Australian workers in the same occupation.
The second pathway is the Core Skills Pathway. Most temporary skilled migrants are expected to come through this pathway, which is designed to bring in the skilled employees Australia needs now and in the future. In short, this is expected to be a continuation of the current TSS visa program. The Core Skills Pathway is expected to be available to applicants who meet the general eligibility criteria and:
- whose occupation is on a new Core Skills Occupation List, which relates to occupations identified by Jobs and Skills Australia as being in shortage or where Australia has committed to providing access to our labour market in relation to that occupation through international trade agreements; and
- who will be paid a salary at or above the TSMIT (to be retitled the Core Skills Threshold, when the new system is implemented), or the relevant average market salary where it is above the TSMIT.
Unlike the Specialist Skills Pathway, trades workers, machinery operators and drivers, and labourers will be eligible under the Core Skills Pathway subject to being identified on the Core Skills Occupation List based on advice from Jobs and Skills Australia, and being paid above the TSMIT (including for roles paid above the Specialist Skills Threshold).
The third expected pathway is an Essential Skills Pathway, which will be a highly regulated pathway for lower paid workers with essential skills. The Government is primarily considering the pathway in the context of the care and support economys. These arrangements would are expected to be sector specific, capped, embedded with stronger regulation and minimum standards.
When can we expect this visa?
The current implementation date for this new visa is late 2024.
Do you have further questions?
While these timelines and changes are subject to regulatory and legislative changes, this represents 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.