2019 Budget and Migration Updates
- Changes to the Skilled Migration Program – Skill Select
From November 2019, the Skilled Migration Points Test will be adjusted to award additional points to primary applicants when their partner has competent English but does not meet the existing requirements for skilled partner points.
Single applicants will also be awarded additional points to ensure they are not disadvantaged. This measure is estimated to result in an unquantifiable increase in revenue over the forward estimates period. The Department of Home Affairs will be provided with $0.3 million in 2019-20 to implement this measure.
The Skilled Migration Points Test currently awards additional points to primary applicants where their partner is under 45 years old, has competent English, and has a skilled occupation applicable for the visa subclass and stream they have been invited to apply for. These changes will prioritise applicants who are single or whose partner can demonstrate competent English and therefore have the best potential to participate in the Australian labour market.
- Other Migration changes
But the budget also provided further details on the government’s migration changes.
The Coalition previously announced it will reduce Australia’s annual migration intake from 190,000 to 160,000 places for four years from 2019-20.
According to the budget breakdown, there will be 108,682 places in the skilled stream and 47,732 places in the family stream, including a combined 3,586 places for child and special eligibility streams.
- Visa changes and Fee Increases
The government is going ahead with a 5.4 per cent increase to the visa application fee for almost all visa sub-classes from July. The measure is estimated to generate an extra $275 million over four years.
The skilled migration points test will be adjusted to further reward individuals and their partners for English language skills.
- Surprise Changes
Indonesians were an unexpected winner from this year’s budget with an increase in the number of work and holiday visas available to Indonesian citizens, from 2,500 to 5,000 from next year.