Upcoming Immigration Changes 2023

Skilled migration occupation lists review

Australia’s skilled visa programs are made up 3 main lists and which are currently being reviewed:

“One of the problems is that we are trying to attract highly skilled people but only being able to offer a short term visa with no permanent residency avenue. This will of course mean that a move to Australia is less attractive and we are more likely to lose that talent to other markets.

A positive outcome would be if they combine the lists and give the option of permanent residency to all skilled workers under the TSS.

These are regularly reviewed to ensure they reflect genuine skills needs and help businesses continue to grow if skilled Australian workers are not available.

The current skills list can be found here.

The last update to the current Skilled Migration Occupation List was made when the COVID-19 pandemic had just hit. Shortly after Labor Government has increased the number of permanent migration visas available in 2022-23 from 160,000 to 195,000 places.

Read more: Migration Program planning levels

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream changes

Period of residence, income threshold and health requirements that have been streamlined and are no longer required to be satisfied by on-hand New Zealand stream visa applicants- applications open 1 July 2023:

The New Zealand stream criteria that no longer need to be satisfied by a primary applicant are those that previously required the applicant to:

  • be resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately prior to the date of application, and that residence began prior to 19 February 2016; and
  • meet the taxable income threshold in relation to three income years within five years immediately before the date of application (including the income year that ended most recently before the date of application), or be exempt, for example due to care of a child who is to remain in Australia; and
  • satisfy Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 relating to health

Family members of the primary applicant included in the visa application will also no longer need to satisfy Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 relating to health.

Pacific Engagement Visa

A new visa will be introduced in July 2023 providing 3,000 places for eligible migrants from Pacific countries and Timor Leste. Spots for the

Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will be allocated by a ballot process each year.

State requirements for 190 and 491 visa in 2023

  • State requirements for 190 visa
  • State requirements for 491 visa

Since Labor’s election win there has already been some significant changes to Australia’s migration policies.

485 visa COVID-19 replacement stream

Important: This stream will be available for new applications from mid-2022. Further details will become available over the coming months. Please continue to check back for updates.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • currently hold, or have held a Temporary Graduate visa that expired on or after 1 February 2020; and
  • have been outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021.

In normal circumstances, applicants can only be granted one Temporary Graduate visa, and a further visa is only available on the basis of regional work and study.

Cap removed for partner visas

In 2023, there will be no limit to the number of partner visas issued per year. It means that the processing time for partner visas will be much quicker and easier.

Change to priority processing time

New rules for visa processing time. Applications are being processed in the following order of priority:

  • Healthcare or teaching occupation applications
  • For employer-sponsored visas, applicants nominated by an Approved sponsor with Accredited Status
  • Those for a designated regional area
  • For permanent and provisional visa subclasses, visa applications that count towards the migration program, excluding the Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional)) visa
  • All other visa applications

New visas/ opportunities for Indian nationals

Australia Government has entered into a free trade agreement with India, which came into effect from 29 December 2022. This has several impacts on visas for Indian nationals:

  • No Labour Market Testing is required for TSS visa.
  • Australia to extend access to the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa to up to 1,000 Indian citizens each year.
  • Longer stay for Indian international students under new post-study work rights arrangements.

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