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Migration and the 2020 – 2021 Federal Budget

21 October 2020
nicole brown
Read Time 3 mins reading time

The Federal Government’s recent budget certainly attracted a number of headlines. The dust has now settled and below are our key takeaways in the Migration space.

net overseas migration

Unsurprisingly, Australia’s net overseas migration (the number of people coming to Australia vs. the number of people departing) has reduced significantly over the course of 2020 with the Federal Government forecasting an 85 per cent reduction for 2020-2021 compared with last financial year, and the first reduction in net migration since 1946.

business, investment and innovation program

There will be a significant increase in the program with a focus on higher value investors, business owners and entrepreneurs to improve economic outcomes. Places will be increased to 13,500 with the application fee to increase on 1 July 2021.

global talent independent

The GTI program will be tripled to 15,000. There will be a Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce set up with the mission of attracting international businesses and talent to support Australia’s post COVID recovery and increase jobs.

This is an expeditious pathway to Permanent Residence for those that have an internationally recognised record of achievement in one of the Government’s target sectors.

partner visas

Individuals with pending partner visa applications can expect faster processing with an additional 30,000 places being allocated this financial year. Of the 77,300 places in the family stream, 72,300 will be allocated to partner applications.

The Morrison Government also announced proposed changes to character and English requirements for both applicants and sponsors. While applicants have always been required to provide character checks, the proposed change will also require sponsors to provide these checks.

A further proposed change is that applicants and sponsors who are Australian permanent residents will need to meet functional English requirements when applying for a permanent visa. Specific requirements have not yet been announced and the law will need to be updated for them to apply.

refunds

Visa refunds are available for Prospective Marriage visa holders and Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program visa holders who are offshore and have their visas cancelled due to not being able to enter Australia by their entry date.

Subsequent visa application fees are able to be waived for Temporary Skilled Workers, Visitor Visa holders and Working Holiday Makers to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions have been lifted.

The Government previously announced a waiver of the visa application fee for Student visa holders required to submit a further visa in order to complete their studies or remain in Australia because of travel restrictions. Other current visa holders are also able to access refunds and waivers if they are unable to leave Australia due to travel restrictions.

conclusion

The budget reflects the challenges of international travel during COVID and recognises the slowing in population growth as a result of these restrictions. The skilled migration program has become more targeted with the increase in places in the business skills and GTI program off-setting a dramatic decrease in planning levels for the independent skilled and employer sponsored schemes. This means further room has been made for Partner visas, a relief to many applicants who are currently having to wait for up to two years for their applications to be processed.

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Migration and the 2020 – 2021 Federal Budget

21 October 2020
nicole brown

The Federal Government’s recent budget certainly attracted a number of headlines. The dust has now settled and below are our key takeaways in the Migration space.

net overseas migration

Unsurprisingly, Australia’s net overseas migration (the number of people coming to Australia vs. the number of people departing) has reduced significantly over the course of 2020 with the Federal Government forecasting an 85 per cent reduction for 2020-2021 compared with last financial year, and the first reduction in net migration since 1946.

business, investment and innovation program

There will be a significant increase in the program with a focus on higher value investors, business owners and entrepreneurs to improve economic outcomes. Places will be increased to 13,500 with the application fee to increase on 1 July 2021.

global talent independent

The GTI program will be tripled to 15,000. There will be a Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce set up with the mission of attracting international businesses and talent to support Australia’s post COVID recovery and increase jobs.

This is an expeditious pathway to Permanent Residence for those that have an internationally recognised record of achievement in one of the Government’s target sectors.

partner visas

Individuals with pending partner visa applications can expect faster processing with an additional 30,000 places being allocated this financial year. Of the 77,300 places in the family stream, 72,300 will be allocated to partner applications.

The Morrison Government also announced proposed changes to character and English requirements for both applicants and sponsors. While applicants have always been required to provide character checks, the proposed change will also require sponsors to provide these checks.

A further proposed change is that applicants and sponsors who are Australian permanent residents will need to meet functional English requirements when applying for a permanent visa. Specific requirements have not yet been announced and the law will need to be updated for them to apply.

refunds

Visa refunds are available for Prospective Marriage visa holders and Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program visa holders who are offshore and have their visas cancelled due to not being able to enter Australia by their entry date.

Subsequent visa application fees are able to be waived for Temporary Skilled Workers, Visitor Visa holders and Working Holiday Makers to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions have been lifted.

The Government previously announced a waiver of the visa application fee for Student visa holders required to submit a further visa in order to complete their studies or remain in Australia because of travel restrictions. Other current visa holders are also able to access refunds and waivers if they are unable to leave Australia due to travel restrictions.

conclusion

The budget reflects the challenges of international travel during COVID and recognises the slowing in population growth as a result of these restrictions. The skilled migration program has become more targeted with the increase in places in the business skills and GTI program off-setting a dramatic decrease in planning levels for the independent skilled and employer sponsored schemes. This means further room has been made for Partner visas, a relief to many applicants who are currently having to wait for up to two years for their applications to be processed.