The Federal Govt. of Australia presented the 2019-2020 budget on 2nd April. As expected, there were many changes announced which will affect the immigration portfolio.
Here are the key changes affecting immigration below:
- Increase in Lodgement Fee
The visa application charges will increase for all visa subclasses except the Subclass 600. This will be effective from 1st July 2019.
An increase of 5.4% has been planned for Permanent Skilled Immigration Visas. This will make the base application fee for the Primary applicant go up by $200. For Graduate Visas, there will be an $80 increase. For Partner Visas, the increase is a staggering $386.
However, charges for second visa application, like Parent visas and non-functional English for dependents will not be affected.
- Reduction in Immigration numbers
The immigration numbers for the year 2019-20 has been slashed by 30,000. The annual cap for the year 2019-20 will be 160,000.
Significant cuts have been made to the Employer-Sponsored Visa and the Skilled Independent Visa types. This will pave the way for the 23,000 visa places announced for the RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) for November 2019.
- Attracting immigrants to regional Australia
The Govt. has introduced 3 new Visas to attract more immigrants to regional areas in Australia. The Provisional Employer-Sponsored and Provisional Work Visa will be available from 1st November 2019. The Permanent Skilled Regional Visa will be available from November 2022.
The Govt. will also simplify the meaning of “regional”.
Regional Australia will include any of the places outside:
- Gold Coast
Migrants moving to regional areas can now look towards the below areas:
- Toowoomba in Queensland
- Queensland’s North coast
- Northern Rivers in NSW
- Hunter Valley
- Central Coast
- Geelong in Victoria
- Grampians region in Victoria
- All of South Australia
- All of Northern Territory
- All of Tasmania
- Closure of current regional visas
The Subclass 489 and Subclass 187 Visas will be discontinued when the new Regional Visas come into force. The mandatory stay period in regional areas has also been increased from 2 years to 3 years, as per SBS News.
- Longer stay for foreign graduates
Wef from 2021, foreign graduates who complete their studies from Regional Universities will get an additional year on their Post-Study Work Visa.
- Regional Scholarships
New scholarships will be available for both domestic and international students for studying at Regional Universities in Australia.
- GSM Points Test changes
Wef 1st November 2019, extra points will be awarded to applicants for their spouse’s English proficiency. This would be applicable to applicants whose spouse does not meet the requirements of the skilled partner points.
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