Massive changes proposed for the Migration System


Summary of changes ahead:
Possible reform directions:
Possible reform


Measures supporting possible reform directions

Develop a clear migration strategy to guide Australia over coming decades


Adopt a clear set of objectives and principles to guide the migration system and form the foundation of a migration strategy for the next two decades.


Ensure a single area of government, with deep- expertise, is charged with stewarding the migration system, with all visa products to be designed and delivered by that department.
3. Develop an evaluation plan for the migration system, based on the outcomes government wishes to achieve through migration.
4. Develop a data strategy to support the migration evaluation plan. The data strategy should cover all migrant settlement and integration outcomes (not just economic) and support investment in better program and outcome data.
Redefine how Australia determines the size and composition of the migration program 5. Move to planning migration over a long-term time horizon (e.g. 10 years).
6. Plan migration based on net overseas migration (which accounts for both permanent and temporary residents), rather than simply relying on permanent migration caps.
7. Work across government – and with states and territories – to consider how best migration can help meet place-based objectives, particularly in regional Australia.
Better target permanent skilled visas to maximise economic outcomes and remain internationally competitive 8. Revisit the allocation of places across the permanent skilled program. In particular, reconsider the size and role of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), noting more positive outcomes from the Significant Investor Visa. Consider how to manage the allocation of places to state and territory nominated and regional visas, including possible consolidation of these programs.
9. Recalibrate the points test to select migrants with high human capital who will make the greatest long- term economic contribution.
10 Consider changes to the existing Global Talent visa to improve clarity in the selection criteria and remove the need for a nomination.
Be led by the evidence, in temporary skilled migration 11 Rely on the expertise of JSA to identify labour needs and market salary rates and provide deep insights and input in a way that links migration with skills and training.
12 Remove the requirement for labour market testing.
13 Renew and strengthen the role of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) as a tripartite advisory body.
14 Draw on advice of the JSA to further inform this tripartite approach.
15 Increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), index it to the Wage Price Index, and consider the adoption of age adjusted thresholds.
Adopt principles and guardrails to manage risk in temporary skilled migration 16 Adopt risk-based regulation of temporary labour migration, with three tiers:

1.     a ‘light touch’ high salary cohort;

2.     a ‘mid-level cohort’ (above the TSMIT, below the high-salary threshold of cohort 1); and

3.     subject to further consideration across government, a lower wage cohort in sectors experiencing persistent shortages and who are most at risk of exploitation and displacing Australian workers with similar skills.

Regulatory effort should be highest for cohort 3 and lowest for cohort 1.

17 Allow temporary migrant workers to move from their current employment to find work with another employer within the same sector or job family.

Migrants could have up to 6 months to find new employment.

18 Require all employers of temporary visa holders to register that employment through a light-touch process; those with a history of serious workplace breaches would be deregistered and ineligible to employ visa holders.
19 Require employer fees and charges to be paid monthly, rather than up-front, to facilitate mobility between employers and increase access for small business by reducing up-front costs.
20 Provide migrant workers with targeted training on workplace laws and conditions based on the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme model.
21 Improve post-arrival monitoring and compliance including through coordination with the tax system, using tax file numbers (TFN) and single-touch payroll.
Resolve and avoid ‘permanently

temporary’ migration

22 Review the drivers that have created a continuing ‘permanently temporary’ cohort with a view to ensuring future cohorts do not emerge.
Restore the Working Holiday Maker program to its original intention 23 Ensure the primary focus of the Working Holiday Maker program is cultural exchange and does not operate to tie migration outcomes to the

performance of work. Subject to Australia’s obligations under trade and other international agreements, consider limiting Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visas to one year.

Review approach to Parent visas 24 Introduction of a Parent visa lottery to prevent further application backlogs.
25 Introduce a cheaper, more attractive temporary visa product for parents that might in the long term replace a permanent parent program.
Strengthen international student outcomes and transitions 26 Review the Student visa working hours cap, including whether unpaid work-integrated-learning, internships and work experience are counted towards the cap.
27 Provide a Temporary Graduate visa automatically upon study completion.
28 Align the duration of the Temporary Graduate visa with the time required to identify high potential graduates who will succeed on a permanent skilled visa. Within these parameters, minimise the time former students can remain in Australia on a temporary basis.
29 Explore options to provide a certain and direct permanent residence pathway for a very narrowly defined group of students.
30 Align the English language requirements of the Student and/or Graduate visas with skilled visa English language requirements.
31 Move from the Genuine Temporary Entrant criterion to a Genuine Student test.
Unlock all migrant potential 32 Revisit the scope of settlement and integration support programs, with a view to making them more responsive to local differences in settlement location, and migrant need.
33 Review the Newly Arrived Resident Waiting Period (NARWP) to help improve government understanding of the impacts of this policy measure on migrant outcomes.
34 Invest in social enterprises and others that focus on the drivers of migrant economic integration, including for cohorts who face particular barriers in the labour market (e.g. migrant women, and humanitarian entrants).
35 Lead alongside states and territories a strategy to oversee efforts to streamline skills recognition, particularly for those occupations that can deliver the most benefit to Australia.
Improve and restore clarity to the role of migration in international


36 Examine visa processing arrangements for South-East Asia and the Pacific, to ensure we are presenting a welcoming face to our region, while balancing risk.
Invest in policy, service delivery and enabling capabilities 37 Invest in the Department of Home Affairs’ capability to deliver the migration system, including through ongoing investment in ICT systems, technological adoption and data capabilities.
38 Undertake a phased program of legislative review and reform.

2023-24 Migration Program FAQ

What is the overall size and composition of the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program?
  • The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has a planning level at 190,000 with an emphasis on skilled migrants
  • The Program has an approximately 70:30 split between skilled and family
    • The Skill stream allocation is 137,100 places, 72% of the
    • The Family stream estimated allocation is 52, 500 places, or 28% of the program, noting Partner and Child visa categories are demand driven and not subject to a
What are the key policy settings for the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program?
  • The size and composition of the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program helps to address persistent and emerging skill deficits across our
    • While we are building the domestic pipeline of highly skilled workers, the permanent Migration Program will help build resilience, boost productivity and support our economy as it transitions to net-zero
  • The permanent Migration Program will help address the challenges of an ageing
    • As migrants are, on average, younger than the existing Australian population, migration reduces the average age of the population and slows the rate of population
    • A well-targeted, skills-focused Migration Program supplements the stock of working-age people, boosting participation rates and the size of the labour
  • The permanent Migration Program provides migrants with the certainty of permanency and will help to ensure that no migrant is permanently
    • This will help to boost Australia’s attractiveness to migrants within an intensely competitive global talent market.
    • Greater certainty of permanent residence will encourage migrants to integrate into the Australian community immediately from arrival, including by making personal investments into skills, human capital and social connections.
  • The size of the family stream has been The Government is committed to family reunification and recognises the strong contribution all migrants make to social cohesion by strengthening family and community bonds in Australia.
Why has the planning level been set at 190,000 places?
  • The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has been set at a pre-COVID planning level of 190,000.
    • This is a slight reduction of 5,000 places (2.56%) compared with the 2022-23 permanent Migration Program planning level of 195,000
    • There was strong stakeholder support across business, industry and union groups for maintaining or increasing the permanent Migration Program planning
    • The planning level of the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program is designed to achieve optimal budget outcomes in a complex and evolving economic context and will continue to ensure that Australia has access to skilled migrants at a time of increasing global competition for
    • The composition of the program maintains a significant focus on permanent skilled places, supporting Australian industry and business and continues to deliver a key commitment made by the Government to ensure no migrant is ‘permanently temporary’.
Why has the number of Skilled Independent visas been set at 30,375 places?
  • The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has allocated 30,375 places for Skilled Independent visas. This is broadly comparable to the 2022-23 program allocation of 32,100
  • The smaller planning level for this category in 2023-24 reflects the closure of the New Zealand stream of the subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa from 1 July 2023, due to a new direct pathway to citizenship for Special Category Visa holders who meet citizenship eligibility requirements.
    • The allocation for the points-tested component of the Skilled Independent visa category has increased from 25,600 places in 2022-23 to 30,175 places in 2023-24.
    • The allocation for the remaining Hong Kong pathway remains at 200
  • The Skilled Independent visa is granted to migrants who have high human capital as well as the qualifications and skills that can help us address longer-term structural shifts and skill shortages in our workforce.
Why has the 2023-24 Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) allocation decreased?
  • The planning level for the BIIP has been reduced from 5,000 visas in 2022-23 to 1,900 visas for the 2023-24 Migration This is a reduction of 62%.
  • Reducing the planning level for BIIP will ensure the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has a greater focus on addressing immediate workforce shortages, while still providing visa places to
    • those business and investor migrants who can best contribute to Australia’s economic growth; and,
    • entrepreneur migrants whose innovations can increase the productivity of Australian
Why hasn’t there been a reduction in the Global Talent Visa Program?
  • The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has maintained 5,000 places for the Global Talent Visa (GTV)
  • The GTV program delivers high-calibre skills for Australia through the targeted recruitment of exceptionally talented individuals in key Retaining the planning level ensures that while the permanent Migration Program is focused on addressing persistent skill shortages, we maintain our status as a competitive and preferred destination to internationally mobile exceptional talent.
  • The planning level of the GTV makes sure that we are still attracting the best and brightest whose skills and experience support long-term growth and productivity benefits through innovation and entrepreneurialism.
How do the permanent Migration Program planning levels differ from Net Overseas Migration figures also announced in the Federal Budget?
  • The permanent Migration Program is only one component of net overseas migration (NOM). NOM includes temporary migration, such as Working Holiday Makers and Students, as well as Australian citizens, New Zealanders and also Humanitarian
    • NOM is forecast to be 400,000 in 2022–23 and 315,000 in 2023–24. This increase over previous years reflects a one-off catch up from the pandemic as temporary migrants return to Australia. The increase in migration and population growth is expected to be temporary, with migration forecast to largely return to normal patterns from 2024–25.
  • The size of the permanent Migration Program has not increased since 2022-23 and it is not driving the forecasted increase in NOM.
    • The Migration Program has only a partial impact on NOM in the near-term. Around 60% of visas under the program are granted to migrants already onshore and in the community, residing in established households at the time of visa This minimises the permanent Migration Program’s near-term impact on housing, infrastructure and services.
How can Australia deliver the Migration Program to its planning level as the Department is managing growing numbers of visa applications as global travel fully resumes?
  • The Government will continue efforts to manage the number of visas on-hand by extending funding for 380 visa processing officers, providing an additional $48.1 million over 12 The efforts of a large number of additional trained visa processing staff that commenced in 2022 and early 2023 have significantly increased visa processing capacity.
    • On-hand temporary and permanent applications are now almost 40 per cent lower overall than in June 2022, and there has been a nearly 70 per cent reduction in the temporary visa
    • Between 1 July 2022 and 31 March 2023, the Department finalised nearly 15 million temporary and permanent visa applications.
  • The Government is also investing $27.8 million over two years, commencing in 2023-24, to upgrade existing visa ICT systems to improve visa service delivery efficiency and increase Australia’s attractiveness in the global race for talent, students and
  • The 2022-23 Migration Program is tracking well to meet the 195,000 new permanent visa grants for 2022-23, with a strong focus on the Skill

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