The Commonwealth Government announced in May that they will postpone the handing down of the Federal Budget until 6 October, with reasons being that it is important that they are able to deliver a budget at a time where there is more certainty about the economic environment.
It is expected that the Department of Home Affairs will consider changes to the Migration Program for 2020-21 in response to COVID-19 and the unprecedented levels of unemployment within the Australian workforce.
For the time being, the Department has stated that the 2019-20 Migration Program will remain in place until further notice.
State & Territory Migration Programs (subclasses 190, 491, 132 & 188)
The General Skilled Migration program for the 2019-20 year has now been closed. The 2020-21 financial year program has temporarily closed until the commonwealth Government hands down its allocations for State nomination places.
States and Territories cannot nominate applicants in visa subclasses 190 and 491 until these allocations have been made.
In addition to the abovementioned subclasses, Business and Investment visas have also remained temporarily closed in all States and Territories.
There is currently no confirmed date as to when the Department will allocate the 2020-21 financial year program.
Update on Visa Application/Citizenship Fees and Charges
There has been no increase in department fees like expected on the 1st July 2020. It is unclear if these updates have been delayed until the Treasurer’s update on 23 July, the Federal Budget in October or if there will not be an increase for this financial year.
An increase in credit card surcharges has been announced and implemented and can be found here.
Reopening of IELTS Test Centres in China
There are three testing centres reopening in China allowing for computer-delivered IELTS and IELTS for UKVI on 9 July 2020.
Paper based testing will gradually resume from 11 July at 12 testing venues across China.
For further information on IELTS testing, please visit their website.
Indonesia-Australia Free Trade Agreement
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) commenced on 5 July 2020.
This agreement specifies the Labour Market testing requirements relevant to s140GBA of the Migration Act 1958.