Federal Budget 2023- Australia Immigration

The Australian Government announced their budget planning for the financial year 2022-2023.

The following announcements related to the Department of Home Affairs portfolio and the migration program were included in the Budget and associated papers.

Migration Planning Levels

The 2023-24 migration planning level will be 190,000 places, with 137,100 allocated to the skilled migration stream.

Related: Migration Program planning levels

Increase in Fees and Charges

The Government will increase Visa Application Charges (VACs) from 1 July 2023.

The Budget Papers indicate that Visa Application Charges will rise by between 6% and 40%, with the increases distributed across the following visa subclasses:

Visa Classes Percentage increase
Visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas 15%
Business innovation and investment visas 40%
Other visas 6%
Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas Exempt from increase

The Passenger Movement Charge paid by carriers will increase from $60 to $70.

Increase in TSMIT

The Government will increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from the current rate of $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July 2023.

Visa processing and compliance monitoring

Visa processing capacity to be supported with funding of $75.8 million over two years from 2023–24. Of this, $48.1 million will be allocated over 12 months to support 500 visa processing officers, in an effort to manage the number of visa applications on hand. $27.8 million of this amount over the two years will be spent to upgrade existing visa ICT systems to improve visa service delivery efficiency.

An additional investment of $50.0 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $15.3 million per year ongoing) is to be provided for additional enforcement and compliance activities to maintain the integrity of the migration system.

Domestic Violence and People Trafficking

$38.2 million will be provided to extend to the current Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) and Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot (TVP) to January 2025.

$24.3 million will be provided over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $5.9 million per year ongoing) to pilot an additional referral pathway for the Support for Trafficked People Program and to restructure the program, while increasing ongoing funding to address current and projected demand.

Immigration Assessment Authority

The Government will provide $4.0 million in 2023–24 for the Immigration Assessment Authority to continue merits review of unsuccessful protection visa applications eligible for fast-track review under the Migration Act 1958, pending the establishment of a new federal administrative review body.

Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services

$9.1 million in 2023–24 to be provided to extend existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to 30 June 2024 to continue settlement services to young refugees and migrants to improve their employment outcomes.

The 5-year maximum duration of eligibility for services under the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program, the National Community Hubs Program and Youth Transition Support services will be removed, to ensure continued support for refugees and migrants who have been in Australia for longer than 5 years and have unresolved settlement related needs.

Adult Migrant English Program

An improved delivery model for the AMEP will be implemented within the existing funding. Changes will provide improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants by providing flexible tuition options, introducing a national curriculum, supporting professional development for teachers, and enhancing client support and performance management.

Love and Thoms High Court cases

$5.5 million over 4 years provided to support a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, and who satisfy the tripartite test as set out in Mabo v Queensland [No. 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1, as a result of the High Court’s decision in Love v Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth (2020) 270 CLR 152.

Eligible individuals will be invited to apply for the Resolution of Status visa (subclass 851) for permanent residence providing access to essential Government entitlements, services and programs.

Temporary Graduate Post Study Rights

Temporary Graduate visa holders with select degrees will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.

International students working hour cap

The working hour cap for international student visa holders will be reinstated from 1 July 2023, following its removal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be increased by 8 hours from pre-pandemic levels to 48 hours per fortnight.

International students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.

PALM Scheme

Additional training places will be created for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers in priority sectors for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and where there are job shortages in Australia.

Skills Assessment – Improved Skills Recognition

The Government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.

In addition, the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will ensure students from India and Australia will have greater certainty that the qualifications they attain will be recognised by both countries.

We understand that people who are looking to migrate to Australia often wait for this announcement and see how it could affect their current situation. Therefore, we have summarised some immigrations related key points from the budget announcement for your reference.

Key Points of the announcement

  • Migration planning level remains at 160,000 places, same as 2021-2022.
  • Skilled Migration Program will account for 70% of the permanent migration program
  • Additional places allocated as part of the Humanitarian Program for Afghan Nationals
  • Work and Holiday Visa caps increased to fulfill labour shortages in hospitality, tourism, and agricultural sectors
  • Changes to visa conditions and costs for international students and working holiday makers

Migration Program Allocation

The Australian government announced that it will keep the 2022 – 2023 migration program planning level at 160,000 for this financial year. This number remains unchanged compared to that of 2021 – 2022.

The distribution of the quota is has changed since the previous financial year, with a significantly greater allocation towards Skilled Visas:

This planning reflects that the government wants to focus on the recovery of the economy post-covid, by attracting investment and highly skilled workers.

Greater support offered to Afghan Nationals through Humanitarian Program allocations

Due to criticism of the current Australian government for their lack of support of Afghan Nationals in allocating humanitarian places within the existing humanitarian program during the recent Afghanistan crisis, the Government have announced an additional measure of support. This includes the introduction of an additional 16,500 humanitarian program places to be allocated to Afghan Nationals over the next four years. This is in addition to the current Humanitarian Program with a ceiling of 13,750 places. This means an additional 4,125 places are available to Afghan Nationals each year through Australia’s Humanitarian Program.

Working Holiday Visa caps increased

The Australian Government announced an increase to Working Holiday Visa caps to prioritise the recovery of Australia’s economy post-COVID-19. Working Holiday Visa caps will increase by 30% resulting in an additional 11,000 places. This will encourage international travellers to come to Australia and fulfill labour shortages in the hospitality, tourism, and agricultural sectors.

International Students and Working Holiday Makers: Changes to Visa Conditions and Costs

To further encourage Working Holiday Makers and International Students to travel to Australia and assist in our economic recovery, the Australian Government’s budget highlighted the previously announced changes to some visa conditions and costs.

In addition to this, Working Holiday Visa country caps are increasing by 30% in 2022-23 which will allow for an additional 11,000 backpackers to travel to Australia.

Measures of Support for Ukraine and Ukraine Nationals

According to the budget announcement, there were no additional measures of support for Ukraine. However, initial support announced earlier this month includes:

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