What is the change? Australia is undertaking a review of its skilled migration and temporary work visa programs that seeks to make far-reaching changes and establish a new framework for skilled foreign labour.

What does the change mean? The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is exploring new models of skilled migration that will be responsive to changing labour market needs and cut red tape. The DIBP is inviting comments from stakeholders by 17 October.

  • Implementation timeframe: The DIBP says it will spend months consulting with stakeholders before completing the review and implementing a new framework.
  • Visas/permits affected: All skilled worker and temporary work visa categories.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign nationals for skilled and temporary jobs; foreign nationals in skilled and temporary jobs and their family members.
  • Impact on processing times: One of the goals of the new framework is to simplify processes and reduce bureaucracy, which could improve overall time frames.
  • Business impact: An eventual overhaul of the system will have wide implications for business.
  • Next steps: BAL will be submitting its recommendation, including client feedback. Companies should work with their BAL attorney before the 17 October deadline to provide input to the DIBP on the current system and to propose ways to simplify and improve the skilled migration and temporary work framework.

Background: According to a discussion paper released this month, the DIBP will consider a new framework to address three broad visa categories: Short-term migration, business and investment migration and skilled work. The DIBP will review and assess existing elements, including sponsorship and nomination, occupation lists, skills assessments, English language proficiency, points tests, age threshold and other measures to determine if they should remain as part of a new regime.

BAL Analysis: Australia is embarking on a long-range reexamination of its foreign labour visa scheme. Employers can expect big changes in the coming year and their feedback at the review stage could greatly impact the final changes that are recommended and implemented.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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