2022 Jobs and Skills Summit – What does this mean for Australian immigration?

The 2022 Job and Skills Summit has brought together a multitude of Australians, including unions, employers, civil society, and governments. The aim of the summit is to address the various economic challenges which are rippling throughout Australia.

A large portion of the summit has surrounded Australian immigration and how skilled migration can ease the severe skill shortages being faced in Australia and how Australia can attract the best and brightest in the global market.

Below we have summarised the important changes that have resulted from the summit, and also provides some insight into the likely changes ahead.

Increase to annual permanent immigration intake

The Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has announced that the annual permanent immigration intake will increase from 160,000 to 195,000. Addressing the summit, Clare O’Neil stated that this temporary increase would translate to “thousands more nurses settling in the country this year…[and] thousands more engineers”.

This increased intake is supported by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the Australian Council of Trade Unions, albeit the latter with 17 conditions. In developing these pathways, we are seeing a planned move away from temporary migration to permanency and citizenship for temporary visa holders in Australia.

Increase in regional migration and permanent residency pathways

In a further attempt to tackle skill shortages across Australia and promote additional permanent residency pathways, regional migration places are also increasing from 9,000 to 34,000, and state and territory sponsored visas increasing from 11,000 to 31,000.

It is also likely that pathways for permanent residency will become available for all TSS (subclass 482) visa holders regardless of their occupation.

Continued temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders until June 2023

Moreover, the temporary relaxation of working hours for student visa holders has been confirmed to remain in place until June 2023. Additionally international students are able to work before their course of study commences, and they are no longer limited to 40 hours a fortnight.

International students to be granted longer Temporary Gradudate (subclass 485) visas

The Australian government has confirmed that it will increase the duration of post study work rights of international students to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour.

Post study work rights for select degrees in areas of verified skill shortages will be increased from:

  • Two years to four years for select Bachelor’s degrees
  • Three years to five years for select Masters degrees
  • Four years to six years for select PhD’s

Changes flagged to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

Another likely change will be the recommendation to raise the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) limit. The TSMIT is a major component of the TSS 482 visa programme. Currently the TSMIT is $53,900 however this is likely to be increased in the near future.

The aim of the change is to ensure that TSS 482 visa holders have reasonable and adequate means to support themselves whilst in Australia.

Faster visa processing

The Minister for Immigration announced the investment of $36.1 million into visa processing. This sum has been put aside to increase staff capacity by 500 over the next nine months in order to account for faster processing times and a clearance of the existing backlog of applications. The Government is attempting to make it easier for businesses to access a global pool of talent by providing a streamlined and efficient visa system.

Ethos Migration Lawyers will continue to provide updates as further details on the upcoming changes become available.

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