2020-21 Migration Program Update

Australian Immigration Update

The Australian government has released information in the federal budget regarding the 2020-21 planning levels for Australian immigration in yesterday’s federal budget announcement.

According to the federal government, these changes will help maximise the the responsiveness of the migration program to evolving health and economic challenges.

Family visas, employer-sponsored visas and business and investment visas will be prioritised in the 160,000 places, however the addition of English language requirements for partner visa applicants and sponsors will have a significant impact on the partner visa program.

Partner Visa Changes

The Government will apply the family sponsorship framework to Partner visas which will mandate character checks and the sharing of personal information as part of a mandatory sponsorship application, and subject the sponsor to enforceable sponsorship obligations. These changes will complement existing family violence provisions within the Partner visa program.

The government will introduce English language requirements for Partner visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors. These changes will help support English language acquisition and enhance social cohesion and economic participation outcomes.

Business, Investment and Innovation Program

From 1 July 2021, the Government will streamline and improve the operation of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP).

The Government will introduce changes to improve the quality of investments and applicants.

Visa application charges for BIIP visas will also be increased by an additional 11.3 per cent (above regular CPI indexation) on 1 July 2021.

Places in the business, investment and innovation program will be increased to 13,500.

Global Talent Independent Program

Places in the GTI program will increase to 15,000.

Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce

A ‘Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce’ will be established to attract international businesses and exceptional talent in order to support Australia’s post COVID-19 economic recovery.

Migration Program Planning Levels

The government will maintain the 2020-21 Migration Program planning level at 160,000.

Family Stream places will increase from 47.732 to 77,300 places on a one-off basis for the 2020-21 Migration Program year, and Employer-Sponsored, Global Talent, Business Innovation and Investment Program visas will be prioritised within the Skilled Stream.

Onshore visa applicants and partner visa applicants where the relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area will be prioritised for the 2020-21 Migration Program.

Visa Refunds and Waivers

Prospective Marriage, Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal worker visa holders will be eligible to access a VAC refund.

Temporary skilled workers and visitor visa holders will be eligible to have the VAC for a subsequent visa application waived, to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions are lifted.

Working holidaymakers will be eligible to have the VAC for a subsequent visa application waived, to allow them to return to Australia once travel restrictions are lifted or otherwise be able to access a VAC refund.