Employer sponsored migration will be a key focus for Australia’s Immigration Minister, David Coleman according to his speech to the Migration Institute of Australia in October 2018. Mr Coleman stated Australia’s skilled migration policies should emphasise visa categories providing the highest economic benefits, such as employer sponsored migration and regional skilled migration. His speech indicated we can expect to see further changes to Australia’s skilled migration program. Here are our insights.
The economic benefits of employer sponsored migration
Mr Coleman provided several reasons why Australia should focus on driving employer sponsored migration as a significant part of the skilled migration program. He claimed employer sponsored migration such as the temporary Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa and permanent Subclass 186, 187 and 489 Visas are particularly valuable to the economy because they increase Australia’s workforce participation rate and the proportion of people paying taxes in Australia. He said that since the introduction of the Subclass 482 TSS Visa, applicants have typically been highly skilled and are earning above the median income, resulting in higher tax revenues and other economic benefits.
How does the Government intend to drive employer sponsored migration?
While it is encouraging to hear the Government recognises the value of employer sponsored migration, his statements about the direction of the migration program appear contrary to the practices in the program in the past 18 months. Significant changes under the new Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa program and related employer sponsored permanent residence visa programs have made visa and sponsorship processes more complex and costly for employers and visa applicants. Employers now face more restrictive lists of eligible occupations, new labour market testing requirements and higher costs associated with the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy. It remains to be seen whether the Government will actually consider making employer sponsored migration less onerous for Australian businesses as part of their new focus.
How will this shift in focus impact General Skilled Migration?
Mr Coleman’s focus on employer sponsored migration raises questions on how this will impact other components of Australia’s skilled migration program, such as the General Skilled Migration program (Subclass 189, 190 and 489 Visas). In 2016-17, the General Skilled Migration scheme comprised 54.9 per cent of Australia’s skilled visas, while employer sponsored migration made up 39 per cent. It remains uncertain as to how the Department will drive employer sponsored migration as specific details were not mentioned in Mr Coleman’s speech. An increased focus on employer sponsored migration could mean the Government will consider allocating less visas to skilled applicants without a sponsor who apply through the General Skilled Migration program. Over the past year, we have already seen an increase in the minimum points required for these visas, as well as a decrease in the number of invitations to applicants applying for visas under the General Skilled Migration scheme. View our article and fact sheet on General Skilled Migration here.
Australia to attract young skilled migrants with good English skills
Mr Coleman’s speech also indicated young, highly skilled migrants with good English skills will continue to be sought after. He says Australia’s immigration policies should reflect the fact that “the best economic results generally come from migrants who are skilled and young.” It is important to note however Australia’s skilled migration programs already have an age limit of 45 years of age, which was recently reduced from the age of 50 last year. Mr Coleman also stressed the importance of English language skills saying, “We know English is critical to making a strong economic contribution here in Australia.” Skilled migration changes made last year already require a higher level of English language capability, therefore it will be interesting to see whether even tighter English language requirements will be introduced.
How Interstaff assists businesses and individuals with sponsorship and skilled migration
As we have seen immigration policies shift significantly over the past year, we recommend that you seek professional advice from a registered migration agent to understand your sponsorship and employer sponsored migration or General Skilled Migration options. Our qualified and experienced migration agents provide a free visa assessment to advise on your migration options. Simply contact Interstaff’s registered migration agents on +61 8 9221 3388 (or National Free Call 1800 449 858) or [email protected]
Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents
Immigration Minister, David Coleman’s Address to the Migration Institute of Australia National Conference, Sydney
Department of Home Affairs Annual Report 2016-17