Migration cap increase to 195,000- $36 million to fix visa backlog

An important announcement from the Minister for Home Affairs at the Jobs and Skills Summit today: The Australian Government will add 35,000 places to the national skilled migration program, totalling to 195,000 places available to skilled migrants for 2022/23.

The Minister also announced that the Australian Government will “move away from the focus on short-term migrants, toward permanency, citizenship and nation building”.

Migration program planning levels 2022-23

​The Labor Government has increased the number of permanent migration visas available in 2022-23 from 160,000 to 195,000 places.

This means there are an extra 35,000 permanent visas to address parts of the Australian economy currently experiencing severe shortages, impacting the everyday lives of Australians.

Within the Skill stream, there will be 34,000 places for Regional visas, an increase of 9,000 places compared to earlier projections.

There will also be a big lift in the number of State and Territory visas – from 11,200 last year to 31,000 places this year to help address critical needs in their jurisdictions.

Based on projections, this could mean thousands more nurses and technology workers settling in the country, this year. This will help to directly meet pressing skills shortages and assist migrants to build their lives in Australia, and invest in their and their families’ futures. In summary:

  • 195,000 places in total (up 35,000)
  • 34,000 regional places (up 9,000)
  • 31,000 state and territory places (up 20,000)

Increased funding

The Government will also provide an additional $36.1m for visa processing, to support a surge capacity of 500 staff over the next nine months.

The plan allows State and Territory Governments, who best know the needs of their local communities, to be responsive to skills shortages and plan for their future needs.

Shifting the migration system away from a guest worker economy will enable Australia to be competitive in the global race for talent. From software analysts to chefs, Australia will once again be attractive to prospective workers.

The Labor Government has also announced a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system to report by the end of February 2023.

This review will outline the objectives of our immigration system and guide future reform- with a focus on Australian productivity, unlocking the potential of all migrants, the need for a streamlined and internationally competitive visa process, and sponsorship opportunities for emerging jobs and industries.

The Australian Government will increase the duration of post study work rights of international students to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour.

Post study work rights for select degrees in areas of verified skill shortages will be increased from:

  • Two years to four years for select Bachelor’s degrees
  • Three years to five years for select Masters degrees
  • Four years to six years for select PhDs.


A working group will be established to advise the Ministers for Home Affairs and Education on the development of this and other relevant issues. The group will report to Ministers by 28 October 2022.

Areas for immediate action

The government is also planning on moving away from temporary migration to permanency and citizenship, by developing these pathways. It is looking at reassessing the skilled occupation lists to ensure they are fit for purpose.It is considering raising Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), addressing worker exploitation (2023 priority), examining industry sponsorship instead of standard business sponsorship, and addressing regional labour shortages. The Labour Market Testing (LMT) may be relaxed too.


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