Highlights of Australian Immigration Budget 2023-2024

Following the release of the Australian Government’s budget for the year 2023-24, we will provide you with a quick overview of the key highlights of the budget.

The migration planning level for this fiscal year is set at 190,000 places, out of which 137,100 are allocated to the skilled migration stream. Let’s take a look at these highlights.

  1. Prioritising the Skilled Migration
    The Australian government’s main focus is to prioritize skilled migration to address the persistent shortage of skills. Around 70% will be allocated to the Skill stream. Out of the 137,100 places allocated to the Skill stream, only 1,900 is allocated to the Business Innovation and Investor program. The competition will be high for business owners and investors applying under this program.
    Migration Program planning levels as announced as part of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 Federal Budgets
  2. Big jump in visa application costs
    The government has decided to raise Visa Application Charges (VACs) by 6% to 40%, effective from July 1, 2023
  3. Increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
    The government is trying to attract more skilled migrants who can complement the skills of the Australian workforce. The income threshold will be increased from $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July.
  4. Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
    A new delivery model will be implemented for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) with improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants.
  5. International Students Working Hours Limitations
    International student can work up to 48 hours fortnightly starting from 1 July except for students working in the aged care sector.
  6. Temporary Graduate Post Study Work Rights
    Starting from July 1, 2023, Subclass 485 visa holders will be eligible for an extra two years of post-study work rights. This initiative aims to improve the pipeline of skilled labor in key sectors.
    Two Skills Assessment Pilots will be re-scoped to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to enhance their employment prospects.
  7. Clearer pathways for permanent residency
    The government plans to remove the restriction to Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa for visa holder 482. This is to address the 173,000 temporary migrants who have been in Australia for five years or more.
    Additionally, the limit of one onshore renewal for the short-term stream TSS visa will be eliminated. The objective of these changes will address the situation of the 173,000 migrants who have been in Australia for five years or more on a temporary work or student visa.
  8. Visa backlogs
    The government has allocated $75.8 million to extend visa processing resources and improve
    existing systems to ensure timely visa processing.

The full details of the migration policy will only be revealed later this year following additional consultations.