Federal Budget 2023-2024: Australian Immigration Summary

On May 9, 2023, the Australian Government released its first complete budget since its 2022 election. The budget includes several announcements related to the Department of Home Affairs and the migration program. The highlights of the budget are:

Increase to Migration Planning Levels

  • The 2023-24 migration planning level will be 190,000 places, with 137,100 allocated to the skilled migration stream.

Increase in Government Fees & Charges

  • Visa Application Charges (VACs) will be raised by the government by 6% to 40%, depending on the subclass, effective from July 1, 2023 as follows:
Visa ClassesPercentage increase
Visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas15%
Business innovation and investment visas40%
Other visas6%
Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visasExempt from increase

Increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

Visa Processing, Compliance and Monitoring Efforts to be significant increased

  • The visa processing capacity will receive funding of $75.8 million over two years starting from 2023–24 to manage the visa applications on hand. Also, $50.0 million over four years (and $15.3 million per year ongoing) is to be provided for additional enforcement and compliance activities.

Measures relating to Domestic Violence and People Trafficking

  • The Escaping Violence Payment (EVP) and Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot (TVP) will be extended to January 2025 and be allocated $38.2 million in funding.
  • $24.3 million has been allocated over a 4 year period from 2023-2024 (and $5.9 million per year ongoing) to pilot an additional referral pathway for the Support for Trafficked People Program (STPP) and to restrcuitre the program, while increasing ongoing funding to address current and projected future demand.

Immigration Assessment Authority

  • $9.1 million in 2023–24 to be provided to extend existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to 30 June 2024.

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

  • A new delivery model will be implemented for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) with improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants.

Love and Thoms High Court Case Precedent Support

  • $5.5 million over 4 years provided to support a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, and who satisfy the tripartite test as set out in Mabo v Queensland [No. 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1, as a result of the High Court’s decision in Love v Commonwealth; Thoms v Commonwealth (2020) 270 CLR 152.
  • Eligible individuals will be invited to apply for the Resolution of Status visa (subclass 851) for permanent residence providing access to essential Government entitlements, services and programs.

International Students Working Hours Limitations

  • International student visa holders will face a capped fortnightly work hour limit of 48 hours starting from July 1, 2023, except for students working in the aged care sector.

Temporary Graduate Post Study Work Rights

As previously announced, Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders with select degree will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.

  • Additional training places will be created for Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme workers in priority sectors for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and where there are job shortages in Australia.
  • The government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.
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