The new government under Labor’s Anthony Albanese has already made some significant changes to Australia’s migration policies and begun tackling the visa backlog since coming into office in May.
- New visa for certain countries
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.
- Priority processing for New Zealanders
New Zealanders living in Australia will benefit from priority processing of Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa applications in the New Zealand stream.
“The following streamlining measures introduced acknowledge that this group of New Zealand citizens are long-term residents of Australia, have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the department website says.
- State-sponsored visas up for grabs
Former Department of Immigration secretary Abul Rivzi said the number of visas available through the state and territories is set to dramatically increase thanks to the larger regional allocation.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said it had set a planning level of 31,000 places for state and territory nominated visas (subclass 190) in 2022/23, as well as a further 34,000 places in the regional category (subclass 491), the majority of which are nominated by state and territory governments.
- Easier family reunion
Child visas are also demand-driven and an estimated 3,000 visas are expected to be issued.
The Albanese government has made it easier for families to reunite, introducing demand-driven partner visas in 2022/23. The department is estimating it will issue around 40,500 partner visas this financial year
- Change to processing of visas
Skilled visa applications for teachers and healthcare workers are now being assessed in just three days after the government stopped using the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to rank applications.
Ministerial Direction No. 100, introduced on 28 October 2022, set new rules for applications to be prioritised. Applications are now being decided 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.
Within each category, priority is given to applicants located outside Australia for provisional and permanent skilled visa applications.
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