Update on skilled migrants and international students new budget

The Treasurer delivered the Federal Budget on Tuesday 11 May 2021

Australian Migration Visa Program Budget

Update on skilled migrants and international students

The Government will maintain the 2021-22 Migration Program planning level at 160,000. The size of the program will remain as a ceiling rather than a target.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared that migration planning levels for 2021-22 will remain unchanged with a focus on onshore visa applicants as international borders will remain closed for at least 12 months.

As previously noted Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is expected to fall from around 154,000 persons in 2019-20 to be around -72,000 persons by the end of 2020-21, before gradually increasing to around 201,000 persons in 2023-24.

Update on Australia’s immigration program, skilled migrants and international students

  • Focus on onshore skilled migrants, special consideration for parent visa
  • International students working in the hospitality and tourism sector no longer face a cap on working hours

“Australia’s effective management of COVID makes us an even more attractive place for the best and brightest from around the world,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in Parliament while delivering this year’s Budget.

“To take advantage of this, we are streamlining visas to target highly-skilled individuals when circumstances allow.”

Australian Migration international students

Student visa holders in the hospitality and tourism sectors to work,

  • beyond the current 40 hours-per-fortnight limits, as they have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

According to Budget Paper No 1, international students will only be able to return to the country as part of “small phased programs” later this year and student numbers will only “gradually increase” from 2022.

Update on Australian Migration Family and Skilled stream

places will be maintained at their 2020-21 planning levels, with a continued focus on onshore visa applicants, including reducing the onshore Partner visa pipeline.

  • 79,600 skill and 77,300 family stream places,

Update on Australian Migration Skilled Visas 

Around 50% of the program dedicated to skilled visas and giving priority to highly skilled migrants in the employer sponsored, Business Innovation and Investor Program and Global Talent visa cohorts.

“the Budget document states that the government will continue to prioritize Employer-Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program visas within the Skilled Stream.”

Update on Australian Migration Family visas

the number of places available will be set at 77,300 places for 2021-22.

Given the proportional allocation of places to the BIIP, Global Talent and Family visas, an overall decrease in other skilled migration visa places is evident.

Update on Australian Migration Humanitarian Program

  • will be maintained at 13,750 places in 2021-22.

Update on Temporary visa holders

The federal government has removed the requirement for applicants for the Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa to demonstrate their attempts to leave the country in order to undertake agricultural work.

The period in which a temporary visa holder can apply for the Temporary Activity visa has also been extended from 28 days prior to visa expiry to 90 days prior to visa expiry.

Update on Parent visa validity

In a new provision, the government will extend the validity period for Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas by 18 months for individuals who are unable to use their visas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Adult Migrant English Program

The government will introduce a new delivery model for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) from 1 July 2023 to improve the English language,

  • the cap of 510 hours will be removed and migrants will be able to study until they have reached the level of ‘vocational’ English.


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