Home Information What is known so far about Australian visa reforms in the federal budget?

What is known so far about Australian visa reforms in the federal budget?

by Jasbinder Singh
What Is Known So Far About Australian Visa Reforms In The Federal Budget?

New information is anticipated to be provided in the federal budget on October 25. Labor has pledged to speed up the visa application process and make adjustments to Australia’s humanitarian program. What we currently understand is listed below.

Australia’s immigration intake has already increased under the Albanese government, but current and prospective immigrants are hopeful that the budget announcement scheduled for next week will signal even more changes.

What are the current facts?

The Department of Home Affairs‘ migration program funding was reduced by $875 million over four years by the previous Morrison government, however, the number of slots for skilled and family visas was maintained at 160,000. Since then, the length of time it takes to process visas has increased, and Australian companies have complained that they can’t find enough workers with the necessary abilities.

The Alban administration pledged to quicken visa processing speeds at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September and revealed an additional $36.1 million for nine months of hiring up to 500 workers to help reduce wait times.

When the Labor Party assumed the government in May, about one million visas were still awaiting processing, according to immigration minister Andrew Giles. From 53 days in May to 42 days in July, the average processing time for a temporary skilled visa has since decreased.

In a statement on October 14, Mr. Giles stated that although the department had already processed more than two million applications, there was still a backlog of approximately 872,000 applications because of a sharp increase in demand following the reopening of the borders after they had been closed to foreign arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia is, according to Mr. Giles, “experiencing a quick comeback in visa applications.” Since June 1, 2022, “we have received around 2.22 million new applications, compared with almost 495,000 for the same period in 2021.”

In order to support the processing of visas, Mr. Giles claimed that the Department of Home Affairs has already hired and trained an additional 260 people.

What effects does the federal budget have on visas?

It’s unclear if the government intends to increase funding for Home Affairs in this year’s federal budget to make up for the $875 million that was cut during the previous Morrison administration.

The 2022–23 October federal budget will be presented on Tuesday, October 25 by Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Abul Rizvi, a former secretary of the Department of Immigration, claimed that for the government to adequately support Home Affairs and keep up with its workload, far more funding would be required than the $36.1 million currently committed. He said that the initial motivations for the $875 million decrease would determine whether the future administration fully restored it.

Mr. Rizvi replied, “Some of the reasons may have been fairly reasonable, so you wouldn’t want to overturn them.” However, any cut will be disastrous given the severe bottleneck in the immigration system that exists at the present.

Money, according to Mr. Rizvi, is only a portion of the issue; over the previous ten years, other problems have also arisen. This includes the appearance of visas, which, according to him, have been altered to make them more formal.

The culture of the department has undergone a significant transformation, which is having an impact on how visas are processed, added Mr. Rizvi.

For often very trivial causes, decision-makers wind up rejecting applications.

The Alban administration has promised a thorough examination of the immigration system to serve as a roadmap for future reforms, with an emphasis on productivity, sponsoring options, and a competitive visa application procedure on a global scale. By the end of February 2023, a report is anticipated.

The government has also hinted at plans to raise the income threshold for temporary skilled migration. In spite of the government claiming that it is too low and that more than 80% of all full-time jobs now pay more than that, the threshold was frozen at $53,900 per year.

If so, how many additional visas will there be?

From 160,000 visa slots to 195,000 in 2022–2023, the government has already increased the permanent migration program. This covers family-based visas as well as those for skilled immigrants.

The number of visas issued in each category will be broken out in the budget, according to Mr. Rizvi, who said that he would be very surprised to see any extra increases.

The decision about the number of visas offered to refugees as part of the humanitarian program has not yet been finalized.

federal budget

At the election, Labor pledged to do away with temporary protection visas and replace them with permanent visas for people who have been determined to be genuine refugees.

Mr. Rizvi stated that he anticipated that doing so would necessitate including them in the humanitarian program and potentially increasing the number of visas available for it.

13,750 positions are available under the current humanitarian program in 2022–2023. Over a four-year period, an additional 16,500 spaces will be made available for Afghan refugees.

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