On 9th May 2017 the Coalition Government delivered the Budget. This has provided some interesting insight in relation to Australia’s immigration programme for the year ahead. Below is key point summary of the Budget:

Job Cuts at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

Evident restructure within Government departments was seen across all sectors. Around 245 positions will go from Immigration and Border Protection, explained through “net movements in measures and operational pressures”. This could mean further delay in visa application processing times. Current 457 visas take around 59 days to be processed with approximately 90% of cases processed in 6 months.

Visa Application Fees:

Visa application fees will increase on 1 July 2017. Increase is being determined at slightly above the CPI level with rounding to the nearest $5.

A visitor visa (Subclass 600) will now cost $140. A subclass 457 visa will cost $1080 (single applicant).

Permanent residence applications such as subclass 186 will be $3670 (single applicant).

The student visa fee for the primary applicant will rise $10 and cost $560 instead of $550. An adult dependent applicant will have to fork out $420 after 1 July 2017, up from $410.

Partner visa fee is also rising from $6,865 to $7,000.

TSS Visa will cost anywhere between $1150 to $2400 depending on the stream applied for.

Full pricing table can be found here: Visa Price Increase Fact Sheet

Training Benchmarks:

From March 2018, businesses with turnover of less than $10 million a year that employ foreign workers on the new TSS visas will be required to make an upfront payment of $1200 annually. In terms of permanent visas, subclass 186 and 187 visas will require $3000 one-off payment.

Where a business makes a turnover of more than $10 million a year, the levy is $1800 per annum. In terms of permanent visas, subclass 186 and 187 visas will require $5000 one-off payment. This levy will replace traditional Training Benchmark A and B where a standard business can choose to contribute a figure equating to 2% of payroll to an industry training fund or spend 1% of payroll in training staff who are Australian or hold permanent residency.

Performance Criteria:

DIBP will be required to finalise 85% of all applications within the advertised processing timeframe.

Stronger Rules for foreign Investors:

Foreign investment applicants should be aware of the following changes announced in the 2017-18 Budget:

  • The introduction of an annual vacancy charge on foreign owners of residential real estate.

  • The introduction of a 50 per cent cap on the total amount of dwellings a developer can sell to foreign persons under a New Dwelling Exemption Certificate. This will be applied as a condition on applications submitted after the effective date.

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