How The Government Will Deliver The Migration Strategy In 8 Key Actions | Changes To Expect In 2024 And Beyond

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Interstaff is an Australian owned and operated business specialising in providing comprehensive immigration advice throughout all stages of the visa application process. Our head office is situated in Perth, Western Australia, however we offer our immigration and visa services to individuals and businesses both Australia-wide and internationally. We’re one of Australia’s most trusted migration and visa agencies in Perth for a number of reasons. With over 30 years of experience assisting with matters of various complexities, our dedicated team are committed to helping you navigate through what can be a very complicated visa and migration process. Our leading visa agents in Perth have been helping individuals and businesses obtain a wide range of visas including temporary and permanent work visas, partner visas, student visas and tourist visas.
The Government's Migration Strategy has revealed how Australia's Skilled Visa and Migration System will change in 2024 and beyond to better support the nation's skills needs for decades to come.
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Australia Migration Strategy | Interstaff Migration Agents

The Government's Migration Strategy has revealed how Australia's Skilled Visa and Migration System will change in 2024 and beyond to better support the nation's skills needs for decades to come.

8 Key Actions have been identified to deliver strategic outcomes outlined on the Government's roadmap. Here's a summary of what is expected to change for Businesses and Skilled Visa Applicants/Holders.

Action 1 – Targeting temporary skilled migration

What has recently been implemented:

  • A higher Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) / minimum salary for employer-sponsored visa holders of $70,000
  • A pathway to Permanent Residence (PR) for temporary sponsored skilled visa holders

New Commitments – planned for 2024:

  • A new Skills in Demand Visa providing:
    • better mobility for migrants to change employers
    • clear pathways to PR
    • a tiered migration system including Specialist and Core Skills Pathways
  • Legislation on the way in which income thresholds are indexed
  • An evidence-based and tripartite approach to identifying skills needs
  • Streamlined Labour Market Testing (LMT – testing the local market for suitably skilled persons before employing a visa holder)
  • A best practice service level agreement for processing times and an enhanced sponsorship accreditation pathway

Areas for future reform:

  • Establishing the Essential Skills Pathway under the Skills in Demand Visa to regulate migration for lower paid workers with essential skills.

Read our article here to find out more about the upcoming Skills in Demand Visa and how it will compare to the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa.

It is also encouraging to see Labour Market Testing requirements have already been partly streamlined with the removal of requirements to advertise a position on the Government employment service, Workforce Australia before sponsoring a worker on a Subclass 482 or 494 Visa – read our article on this here. Over a year ago at the Jobs and Skills Summit, nearly all business stakeholders agreed that current LMT arrangements are onerous and limiting, especially at a time of skills shortages.

Action 2 – Reshaping permanent skilled migration

Areas for future reform:

  • Explore a reformed points test to better identify migrants providing long-term benefits to the economy
  • Consider developing a new Talent and Innovation Visa to drive growth in sectors of national priority

As per our previous article, Australia's state and territory nominated visa options to migrate without an employer sponsor have become more competitive for migrants. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has refused to issue extra allocations to WA in the way that it had the previous year for the Subclass 190 Visa. WA has now closed its state nominations for independent visas until July 2024.

For Subclass 189 Independent Visas, the Government had only issued two invitation rounds in the last calendar year, and these invitations were limited to applicants with occupations in healthcare and education.

It is possible that placements for the independent skilled migration program are being reduced while changes to the points test are being considered. Given that the reformed points test has not been slated for change in 2024, it is likely that the Independent Skilled Migration program may continue to be limited this year.

Action 3 – Strengthening the integrity of the international education system

What has recently been implemented:

  • Introduced initial measures to improve integrity in the system for international students

New commitments – planned for 2024:

  • Increase English language requirements for international students
  • More rigorous assessments of student visa applications from high risk providers
  • Bolster the student visa integrity unit in the Department of Home Affairs
  • Strengthen requirements for international education providers
  • Restrict onshore 'visa-hopping' by international students
  • Strengthen and simplify Temporary Graduate visas

Areas for future reform:

  • Better support for international students and graduates to reach their potential

It appears greater scrutiny is already being applied to international Student Visas. According to the Australian Financial Review, Student Visa approvals have been running at well over 90 per cent for the past 15 years but recently hit a low of 82 per cent in the six months to December 2023.

Visa refusals for Student Visas are also expected to increase in the second half of 2024. This is in light of recent media attention on Australia's rising Net Overseas Migration levels – you can read our article on this here.

Action 4 – Tackling worker exploitation and misuse of the visa system

What has already been implemented/ongoing:

  • New legislation, powers and penalties for non-compliant employers
  • Protections against visa cancellation and assisting migrants experiencing exploitation
  • Better regulation of the migration advisory industry
  • Helping migrants understand workplace rights
  • Priority processing of Protection visa applications
  • Integration of Department of Home Affairs intelligence, investigations and compliance

New commitments – planned for 2024:

  • Develop a public register of approved sponsors

Areas for future reform:

  • Strengthen integrity in the approved sponsor application process
  • Improve post-arrival monitoring and compliance – for example, via the tax system

Throughout the past year, our team as well as the migration industry in general, has noticed an increase in the number of migration compliance audit requests for company sponsors – read more here. We expect this trend to continue as monitoring compliance continues to be a major Government focus to protect workers from exploitation.

Action 5 – Planning migration to get the right skills in the right places

New commitments – planned for 2024:

  • Plan the migration intake over a longer-term and undertake data-informed population planning with greater state and territory collaboration
  • Establish a role for Jobs and Skills Australia to define Australia's skills needs using evidence-based methods
  • Improve skills recognition processes and assessments for migrants
  • An enhanced outreach program to improve access to migration
  • An evidence-based, tripartite approach to evaluation and monitoring of the visa system

The current Skilled Occupation Lists that determine the eligible occupations for skilled migration to Australia are very limiting. We are hopeful that the new Core Skills Occupations List that will be developed for the Skills in Demand Visa will be flexible enough to accommodate emerging roles required by employers.

Action 6 – Tailoring regional visas and the Working Holiday Maker program

What has already been implemented/ongoing:

  • Increased skilled migration to help meet labour shortages in regional Australia.

New commitments – planned for 2024:

Areas for future reform:

  • Evaluate settings for regional migration and the Working Holiday Maker program

The Government is going through a consultation process to reform Working Holiday Maker Visa program settings in line with its recently released Migration Strategy.

Action 7 – Deepening ties in the Indo-Pacific

What has already been implemented:

  • Created a direct pathway to Australian Citizenship for eligible New Zealanders
  • Reformed the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme
  • Establishment of a new Pacific Engagement Visa (still underway)
  • Providing a visa arrangement for Tuvalu citizens under the Australia Tuvalu Falepili Union
  • Streamlining processes for Southeast Asian businesses and eminent people to travel to Australia

It will be interesting to see how migration will be used to deepen ties in the Indo-Pacific region, possibly through the Essential Skills Pathway under the new Skills in Demand Visa.

Action 8 – Simplifying the migration system

What has already been implemented:

  • Reduced visa backlog and modernised the visa system

New commitments – planned for 2024:

  • Simplify the visa system by removing unnecessary and duplicative visas
  • Approach all actions in the Migration Strategy with simplification in mind

With the visa system being labelled 'broken' in independent reviews, we are hopeful that the changes planned for 2024 will result in a more efficient visa and migration program that enables employers to engage global talent more quickly and easily.

Source:

Interstaff's Registered Migration Agents

The Department of Home Affairs – Migration Strategy

The Australian Financial Review

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.

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