The Australian government has released the latest migration strategy outlining key actions and new policy commitments to overhaul the current migration system.

Key Points:

  • Net overseas migration is expected to be at a record 510,000 for 2022-23, and the government hopes to reduce migration numbers to pre-pandemic levels of around 250,00 by June 2025.
  • To accomplish this, the 10-year migration strategy aims to tighten visa regulations for international students, specifically targeting temporary graduate and student visas by:
    • Reducing the approved length of stay and updating age eligibility.
    • Establishing higher English language levels, and restrictions on course types and course swapping.
    • Increasing scrutiny on applying for a second visa – any further study must prove it will advance an individual’s academic aspirations or careers.
  • The new strategy also includes measures to help businesses recruit top skilled migrants. The creation of a new specialist ‘skills in demand’ visa will replace the temporary skill shortage (formerly the 457 visa) as Australia’s main temporary skilled work visa. The new visa will:
    • Give temporary skilled migrants more mobility and flexibility in finding alternative sponsors/employers.
    • Provide an expedited processing time of one week.
    • Offer better prospects for permanent residency.

Additional Information: The labor market testing requirements for certain categories of the TSS visa (subclass 482) and skilled employer sponsored regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494) have also been updated as of Dec. 11. Businesses are no longer required to post a job advertisement on the government employment service Workforce Australia. However, employers must still conduct two valid non-governmental advertisements, and provide evidence of a total of two advertisements at the time the nomination is lodged. Additional information regarding the advertising requirements can be found here.

BAL Analysis: Australian officials said migration numbers need to be wound back to a “sustainable level.” The government is hoping to revamp the migration system, while also addressing the shortage of skilled workers. The measures represent significant changes to the immigration system and are designed to reduce the number of migrants coming to the country and attract greater highly skilled foreign talent at the same time. Employers should be aware of the proposed government incentives for recruiting specialist talent in their 2024 employment strategies.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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