In order to boost migration in regional Australia, the Coalition has made many changes to the immigration policy. New investments and visas may open doors for many who wanted to live and work in Australia. Here, we have briefly mentioned all the latest changes, new visas and immigration targets for Australia.Change 1 : Release of Two New Skilled Regional Provisional Visas Two new Skilled Regional Provisional visas were announced by the Australian Government, headed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The two visas have been mentioned below:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa:
- For people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia –
- Receives priority handling 'almost' 700 eligible occupations, which is 450 more occupations than non-regional areas and
- 9000 places have been allocated.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa:
- For people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
- Receives priority processing 'over' 500 eligible occupations, which is 70 more occupations than non regional areas and
- 14,000 places A proposal to introduce two new skilled regional interim visas from November 2019 and a new permanent regional visa from November 2022 was also announced. This is in line with the government's plan to encourage migrants to move to regional Australia New visas were introduced to reduce the concentration of population in Sydney and Melbourne. Visa holders can still move to cities apart from Sydney and Melbourne. Both provisional visas will be valid for 5 years, After 3 years of working and living in a regional area of Australia, with a path to the new permanent visa. The new regional visas will be launched in November 2019.
Except for the following cities, all other areas in Australia will fall under the definition of regional Australia : Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Applicants can apply to live and work in these regional territories by submitting an application for the newly introduced Skilled Regional Provisional Visas. The redefinition will be applicable from November 2019.Features of these two new provisional subclasses
- both commence 1 November 2019
- five-year validity
- priority processing
- access to additional skilled occupations
- three years living and working in regional area to be eligible for PR. The introduction of the two new regional visas in November 2019 will not impact people who already hold existing visas. Applications lodged prior to November 2019 will continue to be processed as normal.
- There will be no impact on the permanent residence of current permanent visa holders.
- All applications lodged prior to the commencement date will continue to be processed as usual
- Starting in November 2019, points testing will be adjusted to award additional points to primary applicants where their partner has competent English but cannot meet the requirements for qualified partner points.
- Additional points will also be awarded to single applicants to ensure that they are not disadvantaged. - how this will occur has not been detailed.
Change 3 : 2019 Federal Budget announcements
The 2019 Federal Budget contains the following announcements and information related to the Department of Home Affairs and the migration program.
VACs to increase
- Base VACs for visa subclasses, except the Visitor Subclass 600, will increase by 5.4% from 1 July 2019
- No increase to second instalment VACs
- Expected to increase revenue by $275 million from 2018/19 to 2021/22
In order to support sporting clubs and farmers, Australia has added new occupations to the SOL. Through these applications, farmers and sporting clubs will be able to sponsor immigrants for permanent residency.
The changes were made after through consultation with the Department of Jobs and Small Businesses. New changes to the SOL can be categorized as follows:
- 36 occupations added to Medium- and Long-Term Skill List
- 27 occupations are no longer a part of the STSOL
- 18 occupations added to the Regional Occupation List
You can now apply to the new Temporary Sponsored Parent visa which will be launched on April 17th. Each year, 15,000 temporary sponsored parent visas will be granted. However, this visa will now provide a path to permanent residency.
Immigration MInister David Coleman said, “Up to 15,000 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas may be granted each year, ensuring reunions are possible for many families. This will make a big difference to many Australian families.”
Australia’s Immigration Minister has announced that applications to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa will be open from the 17th of April 2019.
A sponsored parent may apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa, subclass 870, once a sponsorship application has been approved.
Visa applications from 1 July 2019 will be possible.
The visa will provide a new path for parents to come together in Australia with children and grandchildren.
$19 Million invested to Fast Track Processing of Regional Visas
For faster processing of regional visas, Australia has invested $19 million. The money will be used to process the new regional visa applications and the backlog created which has resulted in thousands of applications being stuck in a limbo.
"Two-thirds of new immigrants are going to our capital cities, in particular Sydney, Melbourne and in southeast Queensland," says Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer
He added, “This is creating pressures on infrastructure, not only on our roads but also on our public transport, creating pressures on health, on education and other essential services.”
Coalition Government Reveals New Immigration Targets
The Coalition Government of Australia has capped the immigration target at 160,000 for the next four years. Due to prior enforcements of mandatory stay in regional areas, the applications for skilled visas dropped by 10 percent. Changes were approved by the cabinet and will result in an annual fall of 30,000 in immigration numbers.
As you may notice, the recent policies are aimed to tackle the burgeoning population of Sydney and Melbourne. The Government will also motivate the students to join regional institutes instead of the ones in major cities. Low skilled work visas were also introduced as a solution to this issue.
$551 Million Invested to Boost Adelaide’s Economic Growth
Countering the population growth in Sydney and Melbourne won’t be easy if majority of jobs stay in these cities. To create an alternative to these two Australian cities, the federal government along with South Australian Government has decided to invest $551 million in Adelaide.
Applicants of Regional Visas can Choose Among 114 Occupations
The Federal Government has penned a new visa agreement with the South Australia and Western Australia. Through this new agreement, 114 occupations will be available to applicants of regional visas to these territories. Through this new deal, businesses will be able to sponsor 750 workers annually.
However, as part of the new DAMA (Designated Area Migration Agreements) visa this move has received some criticism.