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Following the Federal budget review on 6th October, the Australian Government outlined main points in relation to the Australian Migration program for the current financial year 2020-2021:

• The Migration Planning Level remains the same at 160,000 places.

• The program continues to focus on attracting the best and brightest applicants. The Government allocated 15,000 visa places under the Global Talent Independent Program (GTI). This represents an increase of 10,000 places comparing to last year.

• The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) has been increased to 13,500 places.

• A higher allocation for visa places under the GTI and BIIP Programs might have a detrimental effect on the Skilled Migration stream. Net migration numbers are expected to fall significantly to just 35,000 in the current financial year.

• The family visa program planning level has been increased to 77,300 places which includes 72,300 places under the Australian Partner visa category. This is a one-off increase which will help the Department with clearing the Spouse and Partner visa estimated 100,000 applications backlog.

• Budget papers also mention introduction of an English language requirement for partner visas and their permanent resident sponsors.

• The Government will also be prioritising onshore visa applicants and partner visa applicants where the relevant sponsor resides in a designated regional area.

• More initiatives to increase regional migration are expected.

• The allocation quota for the Humanitarian Program is 13,750 places.

• The Government will also offer refunds of the Visa application charge (VAC), waivers or visa extensions to visa holders who have been unable to travel to Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Prospective Marriage, Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program visa holders will be able 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 holiday makers 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. VAC refunds and waivers will be available to current visa holders who are unable to travel until the border reopens”

The Department of Home Affairs will play a critical role in supporting the Australian economy and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic through safe opening of Australia’s borders. The borders are unlikely to open before January 2021. It is expected the borders will gradually reopen in the first six months of next year.


Emigrate-to-Australia is part of Taylor Hampton Solicitors, a premier law firm based in London, United Kingdom. As part of our services we offer legal assistance with visa applications to Australia. To speak to one of our qualified advisers, please call 0207 427 5290 or email us: [email protected]

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