New Skilled Migration Program | The Government’s Vision – What Strategy Documents Reveal
The Government aims to deliver a better targeted, more efficient and outcomes-focused migration system, as revealed in its recently released Migration Strategy Outline, ‘A Migration System for a More Prosperous and Secure Australia’.
As part of this vision, it noted four key policy shifts based on the outcomes of the Migration Review that will direct the reform of the skilled migration and international student programs. These were:
- Prioritising the people we need to enhance our economic prosperity and security
- Making the migration system simple and efficient for employers and migrants
- Delivering outcomes for Australians and migrants post-arrival
- Restoring the Australian values of integrity, fairness and inclusion in the migration system
Here’s a summary of how these four policy shifts will be achieved and what we can expect in the Government’s redesign of the skilled migration program.
1. Prioritising Skills In Need
The Department of Home Affairs will redesign the structure and settings of its skilled migration programs – both temporary and permanent – to attract the skilled workforce it needs to boost the economy. This will involve:
- Developing fast, simple pathways for specialised, highly skilled workers needed to drive innovation and build jobs of the future (also known as Tier 1 of the new Skilled Migration Classifications)
- Building a mainstream temporary skilled pathway, which requires workers to be paid above the new TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold) of $70,000 per annum (Tier 2 of the new Skilled Migration Classifications)
- Creating tripartite, regulated pathways for workers that are desperately needed to address long-term skills shortages, such as for the care sector and other essential industries (Tier 3 of the new Skilled Migration Classifications)
- Replacing outdated, inflexible occupation lists with evidence-based lists of skills in need
- Reforming the ‘points test’ for Independent Skilled Migration to focus on factors that provide the most economic value – read about recommendations to change the points test here.
2. Making it simple and efficient for employers and migrants
The Government plans to make it easier and faster to secure the skilled workers Australia needs in the below ways:
- Simplifying visa categories, rules and requirements – this is likely to include the absorption of the Business Innovation and Investment Visa into other skilled migration streams, the removal of Labour Market Testing and Skilled Occupation Lists – read more here.
- Investing in IT and capabilities for a more efficient migration system
- Switching to monthly employer fees and charges rather than a large up-front investment – this refers to the National Training Contribution Charge (NTCC) – read more here.
- Establishing a formal role for Jobs and Skills Australia to define skills needs using an evidence-based approach (including advice from tripartite mechanisms) and to formalise feedback between the migration system and training and education systems to address skills shortages.
3. Delivering outcomes for Australians and migrants
The Government will seek to improve the job readiness of migrants and to deliver the best outcomes for Australians and migrants by:
- Providing faster pathways to PR for temporary skilled migrants (for example, by shortening the pathway to PR for Subclass 482 TSS Visa holders) and graduates
- Allowing greater mobility for skilled migrants to switch between employers
- Establishing a greater role for States and Territories to identify their migration needs and priorities – especially in regional areas
- Tightening Student Visa requirements to ensure students are genuinely in Australia to study, and reducing the time International Students spend on Bridging Visas by streamlining the path to Graduate Visas
- Ensuring adequate investments are made in housing, infrastructure and services to support migration
4. Restoring integrity, fairness and inclusion in the migration system
The integrity of the migration system will be enhanced in several ways:
- Addressing the issue of becoming ‘permanently temporary’ by providing clear PR pathways for Temporary Skilled Visa holders – such as Subclass 482 TSS Visa Holders and enhancing PR and Citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens.
- Improving and streamlining the skills recognition process to assist migrants to enter the labour market at the level of their qualifications
- Strengthening compliance and monitoring of visa conditions
What’s Next | Australia’s Migration Strategy and New Skilled Migration Program
During May and June 2023, the Government will consult State and Territory Governments, business groups, unions and key stakeholders on these critical policy shifts before releasing a final Migration Strategy later in 2023. Reforms of the family stream of the migration program will be considered separately and we will certainly keep you updated.
For further information on the direction of the migration program in 2023-2024, you may be interested in our articles below:
As always, if you require professional visa, sponsorship or migration advice, we encourage you to call Interstaff’s Migration Agents on 08 9221 3388 (Perth) or 02 7200 2567 (Sydney) or 03 8319 0902 (Melbourne) or +61 8 9221 3388 (International) or get in touch here if you have further questions.
You may also wish to connect with us on LinkedIn to keep up-to-date on these changes.