Budget Update: What Does It Mean For Migration?

This week’s budget included some major announcements on migration.

Australian money and passport illustration

The Government’s tax cut plans dominated the headlines following the 2020 budget, but there were some surprising migration announcements in the mix too.

Pay close attention if you’re planning to lodge a partner visa application in the near future.

Partner visas

  • The cap has been lifted on family stream places, meaning we’re likely to see faster processing of 820/801 partner visas
  • Applications will be prioritised if the sponsoring partner lives in a regional area
  • English language testing is being introduced for some partner visa applicants and some Australian sponsors. This won’t apply to first stage partner applications (300, 309 or 820) and the required standard of English probably won’t be as high as it is for skilled workers. Eligible visa holders can access up to 500 hours of English tuition ahead of applying. This change is expected to come into place in July 2021.
  • Tightening of family sponsorship provisions, including information sharing, obligations and obligatory character checks
  • Refund of the visa application fee for prospective marriage visa (300) holders whose visas are cancelled because they can’t travel to Australia due to border restrictions

New Zealand citizens

There is good news for New Zealand citizens; getting Australian permanent residency (PR) is about to become a lot easier.

If you’re a New Zealander living in Australia, you might be wondering whether it’s worth getting PR at all. It most definitely is. There are so many benefits of being an Australian PR, including access to more Government grants and support, higher education loans and more job opportunities.

  • Eligible New Zealand citizens who have earned more than $53,900 (the Temporary Skilled Migrant Income Threshold) for three out of the last five financial years will be eligible to apply for PR via the 189 visa New Zealand stream
  • Depends can be included in the application
  • The Government will be rolling out an advertising campaign to encourage uptake of this visa

Working holiday makers

  • Working holiday visa holders will be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee if border closures disrupted their plans. Or, they can have a subsequent working holiday visa fee waived
  • Construction work and paid/volunteer disaster recovery work will be classed as ‘specified work’ in local government areas with ‘declared natural disasters’
  • Working holiday makers helping with disaster recovery can work for the same employer for up to a year
  • Working holiday visa holders employed in certain industries, such as food processing and farming, may be able to work longer than six months for one employer and could be eligible for a further working holiday visa

Business innovation and investment visa scheme

  • Places are increasing to 13,500
  • The visa application fee is going up by 11.3 per cent as of 1 July 2021
  • The Government is introducing changes to attract higher level investors

Employer-sponsored visas

General outlook

Net overseas migration is projected to fall in 2020-21 for the first time since 1946, before making a rebound as a Covid-19 vaccine candidates are approved and border restrictions ease.

The budget assumes that a vaccine will be approved and rolled out by the end of next year.

There are no two ways about it, we’re living in extremely strange times, but our hope is that by this time next year, visa holders can move freely again.

We have our fingers crossed that over the next few months we’ll see flight caps being eased and the return of international students and visa holders who normally reside in Australia but found themselves stuck offshore due to travel restrictions.

In the meantime, if you’re in Australia and your visa is expiring in the near future, contact us to discuss your options. The 408 pandemic event visa might be an option, or you may be eligible for a partner visa or employer sponsorship.

Visa assessments are free, so what are you waiting for?


Get in touch now to find out how we can help you contact us