Australian Visa Updates – Family Visa, Employer Visa, Business Visa
The federal government has made an announcement regarding some changes in the 2020-2021 immigration program and this was when the 2020-2021 federal budget was announced. The federal government stressed the need on the revitalization of the economy and restated its commitment towards ensuring that jobs are created following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget announcement highlighted some major points which shall be summarily discussed below.
Australian migration program overviews
In an announcement, the government stated that for the year 2020-2021, the migration program level will be at the quota of 160,000. The federal went further to state that this figure would remain the same due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. However, there would be a major change to the structure of the migration program. For the family stream, there would be an increase which would go from the previous 47,732 up to 77,300 and this would just be implemented once for the 2020-2021 migration program year. Moving forward, the federal government announced that in an effort to ensure that the right persons are put into the economy for faster and better sustainability of the economy, the following visas would be prioritized within the skilled stream before others – Employer-Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program visas. The federal government further announced that onshore visa application as well as partner visa applications will also be prioritized. For the partner visas, there would be an increase number of quota to about 72,300 within the family stream. For the onshore visa and partner visa, the sponsor must be resident in a designated regional area. According to the federal government, for the new permanent residence applications, there will be about one third which will be coming from the family stream while two thirds will be coming from the skilled stream. Taking about 15,000 slots is the Global Talent Independent program (GTIP). For Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), there will be about 13,500 places. For the humanitarian program, there will be a total of 13,750 quotas available. The federal government stated in the budget that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts will be made to ensure that a refund is made for all Visa Application Charges (VAC) or in other cases, a waiver or extension of the visa may be offered to the visa holders. The federal government stated that these visa updates will greatly impact positively on the economy and also ensure that the migration program responds effectively the economic and health challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Great news for partner visas and seasonal worker visas
The federal government announced that all those that have Seasonal Worker Programme visa, Pacific Labour Scheme visa and Prospective Marriage visa will be able to have their VAC refunded. For the waiving of the visa, the federal government stated that the visa holders must be a temporary skilled worker, visitor or a working holiday maker. The federal government pointed out that the visa refund and waiver would only apply to all those that have a visa but are unable to return to Australia due to the closure of the borders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Changes to Australian partner visas
The federal government announced that there would be compulsory checks of the character of the sponsor of a partner visa to ensure that the person is mentally, psychologically and emotionally fit to handle the incoming partner. This will help to reduce any form of domestic violence that might likely occur as a result of the union. The federal government further stated that English language will be a major requirement for all persons that are making applications for partner visas. This English language requirement will also extend to their permanent resident sponsors. In line with the government’s policy, the sponsors will also be required to share their personal information during their sponsorship application as this will go a very long way to ensure that proper investigation is carried out into the background of the sponsor. The federal government stressed the need for families to be together despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The partner visa will seek to solidify the bedrock of the economy which is the family as that is the first point of contact of every citizen.
Changes to Skilled migration visa (Subclass 189) – New Zealand stream
The federal government has introduced a major change for New Zealand citizens applying for the skilled migration visa (subclass 189). Moving away from the previous requirement for the applicants to show that they have an income which is above the threshold ($53,900) for a period of 4 to 5 years, the new changes creates a new requirement. The applicants would now have to show that they have a taxable income which is at or above $53,900 for at least a period of 3 out of the last 5 income year.
Australian government support to Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)
The government has stated that the migration program for 2020-2021 is meant to help build and recover the economy of Australia which has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government stated that as from July 1, 2020 there would be a proper and better operational outline for the GTIP and in the same period, there would be an increase of about 11.3% in the visa application charges.
Global talent visa / GTI visa Australia
The GTIP is expected to have its slots increased to about 15000. The federal government stated that there shall be an establishment of a Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce and the aim of this group will be to create activities that will be able to draw the attention of talented and skilled individuals as well as in international companies and investors to contribute financially and in other related aspects towards rebuilding the economy of Australia which has been hampered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government stated that the GTIP will be tailored to support the Global Talent Initiative and Business Innovation and Investment Program.
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