The Federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday May 11th but as widely anticipated, in a world still recovering from the impact of COVID 19, it offered only carefully measured support for Australia’s much-disrupted migration program.
Current international travel restrictions have been acknowledged, as has a continuation of the Migration Program planning level at 160,000 migrants; a clear indicator that the focus for this approaching year will be upon granting permissions to those already onshore.
An emphasis will be directed towards Global Talent visas; the government committing $550 million over the coming four years, keen to attract the very best overseas talent and business interests, as Australia emerges from the impact of the pandemic.
Relevant announcements in a nutshell
Global talent visa: In addition to the $550 million commitment, the Australian Taxation Office will provide fast-track advice to potential foreign investors and will endeavour to simplify individual tax residency rules.
Sponsored Temporary Parent visas: The validity period will be extended by 18 months for individuals who, due to COVID travel restrictions, have been prevented from using their visas.
Temporary visa holders: The government has removed the requirement for applicants under the Subclass 408 Temporary Activity to demonstrate their attempts to depart Australia, where they intend to undertake agricultural work. It has also extended (from 28 days prior to visa expiry, to 90 days prior to visa expiry) the period in which a temporary visa holder can apply for a temporary activity visa.
Student visa holders: In a move designed to assist the tourism and hospitality industries, the government will temporarily allow student visa holders to work more than 40 hours per fortnight, providing that they are employed within tourism and/or hospitality sectors.
Pacific workers: Pacific workers who are already in Australia under the Seasonal Workers Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme had their visas extended for 12 months in April 2020. This extension has now been confirmed to continue until April 2022.
International travel and International Students: The Budget suggests that international travel is not reasonably expected to resume until mid-2022. It makes no direct mention as to when international students may be expected to return but this is clearly a developing situation.
New migrant access to government benefits: Applying to all migrants and their families granted residency from January 1st 2022, access to Australian government benefits will not be available for a period of four years. This is a cost cutting measure and will apply without exception.
The budget also contained additional proposals designed to assist new migrants but these will be covered separately, as they proceed; whether that be as proposed or subject to modification.
Keeping you informed
At Sellanes Clark, when it comes to immigration matters, we embrace a responsibility to keep our valued clients and friends fully up to date, with a professional team always happy to offer assistance.
For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the friendly lawyers & immigration experts – Sellanes Clark – specialising in all immigration matters.
(Information sources: homeaffairs.gov.au/reports-and-pubs/files/migration * ABC News * visalounge.com.au)