We have summarised 11 key points that will make a difference for employer sponsors and skilled workers alike.
- TSMIT will be increased
- Upgraded pathways to PR for TSS visa holders
- Removing the requirement for labour market testing
- Reduction in the number of visa classes
- SAF levy to be pro-rated
- Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement (came into effect 31 May 2023
- Increase in Visa Application charges
- NZ Citizens Australian citizenship eligibility changes
- Student Visa Work limitations - work limitation back to 48 hours per fortnight
- Changes for Working Holiday Makers
- New visa for Pacific Migrants
1. TSMIT will be increased
Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) will increase from $53,900 to $70,000 from July 1 2023. This means employers looking to sponsor overseas workers will need to offer an annual salary of at least $70,000 plus superannuation to prospective candidates.
2. Removal of Labour Market Testing (LMT)
Labour Market Testing (LMT) is a process that requires employers to advertise a job locally, even where skills shortages obviously exist. From July 1, 2023, Labour Market Testing (LMT) will no longer be required for the top 2 tiers of skilled workers paid above a minimum salary of $70,000.
3. Upgraded pathways to PR for TSS visa holders
The Australian government has also announced that by the end of 2023, all Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders will have a pathway to permanent residency providing employers and migrants with more certainty and helping increase the skill level in the permanent skilled migration program.
4. NZ Citizens Australian citizenship eligibility changes
From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa. These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001. Protected SCV holders will continue to be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship.
5. Reduction in the number of visa classes
The Australian government aims to streamline its visa system by reducing the number of visa classes. This plan involves consolidating various visa categories into fewer, more comprehensive visa types, simplifying the application process and improving efficiency in managing immigration matters.
6. SAF levy to be pro-rated
The Australian government plans to introduce a pro-rated SAF (Skilling Australians Fund) levy, which means that the levy amount will be calculated based on the duration of the visa granted to the employer's sponsored worker. This change aims to provide flexibility and fairness in the payment of the levy.
7. Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement
Australia and the UK have agreed to put in place new arrangements under the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and Youth Mobility Scheme. This follows the entry into force of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (Australia-UK FTA) on 31 May 2023.
Under the new arrangements, UK passport holders will be able to:
- apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive from 1 July 2023
- be granted up to three Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements from 1 July 2024.
The Australia and UK Free Trade Agreement allows working holiday makers from both countries to benefit from expanded opportunities for work and travel. It enables easier access to visas, increased age limits, and potential extension of stay, fostering greater flexibility and exchange of cultural experiences for young individuals seeking temporary employment while exploring a new country. Further, it is anticipated that the required legislative provisions will be amended shortly to remove the requirement for Labour Market Testing for UK passport holders.
8. Increase in Visa Application charges
From 1 July this year, the government will increase application charges between six and 40 per cent.
The increases are distributed across the following visa subclasses:
Percentage increase over indexation
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
The Passenger Movement Charge paid by carriers will increase from $60 to $70. The largest cost increase is on the business innovation and investment visa, with the Visa Application Charge increasing to over $12,000.
These visa application charges are estimated to increase Government earnings by $665 million over five years from 2022/23.
9. Work restrictions for student visa holders
Starting from 1 July 2023, work restrictions will be reinstated for student visa holders in Australia. These restrictions were relaxed during the pandemic and completely removed in January 2022 to address workforce shortages. However, from 1 July 2023, all student visa holders will be limited to working 48 hours per fortnight. Exceptions are made for student visa holders already working in the aged care sector, who can continue to work unrestricted hours until 31 December 2023.
10. Changes for Working Holiday Makers (WHMs)
From 1 July, the Australian government has provided a concession for WHMs to work for the same employer or organisation for a further 6 months without requesting permission. This means that any work carried out before 1 July will not be counted towards the six month limitation period. This means WHMs can work for any employer for an extra six months even if that work commenced before 1 July. This is of course provided that the visa is valid for that further 6 month period, if it expires during that time visa holders will need to re-apply for an appropriate visa to remain lawful.
11. New visa for Pacific migrants
A new visa will be introduced providing 3000 places for eligible migrants from Pacific countries and Timor Leste. Places for the Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) will be allocated by a ballot process each year, and those selected will be able to apply for permanent residence in Australia. It is expected that applications will open online in July.
Are you concerned that your business will be affected by the proposed changes to immigration announced by the government? Contact us today to discuss this by email or by booking a consultation.
The above information is not intended to be legal advice but merely offers a brief summary of news and events. Roam Migration Law will continue to monitor updates in this area and notify clients where future information becomes available.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.