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The new 2017 Australian Budget and how it affects the Australia immigration programme and visas

The new 2017 Australian Budget and how it affects the Australia immigration programme and visas
Key terms: Australia Budget 2017-2018 – Migration Policy Changes – Visa Application Fees – Employer Sponsored Visas – Training Benchmarks – Skilling Australians Fund – Levy for foreign workers – Temporary Parent visas

Key takes:

> Australian employer sponsored visas to become more expensive.

> New temporary parent visas may be attractive.

> Visa processing times might increase with staffing cuts.

On 9 May 2017 the Treasurer for the Government of Australia announced the latest budget for Australia. While many of the policies and changes affect locals in terms of public services, infrastructure, welfare and taxes, the Australia migration programme is also affected by certain policies. Here are the areas of Australia migration affected by the newly announced Budget.

1. Employers will now need to pay a levy for each foreign worker hired

The biggest impact is perhaps on the employer sponsored visas front (457 visas [soon to be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage visa], ENS 186 visas, RSMS 187 visas). From March 2018 the training benchmark will be replaced by the Skilling Australian Fund Levy. Under the new levy requirement businesses which sponsor overseas workers will need to:

  • make an upfront payment of $1,200 per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa
  • a one-off payment of $3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.
For businesses with annual turnover of $10 million or more:

  • make an upfront payment of $1,800 per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa
  • a one-off payment of $5,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

This is a damaging change for businesses which need to rely on foreign workers to operate their business. Employers sponsoring for the permanent RSMS 187 and ENS 186 visas might feel hard-done-by with the additional levy.

After the announcement abolishing the 457 visa programme, the additional changes strongly indicate the focus of the Australian Government to scrutinised and reform the employer sponsored visa programme.

2. A new Temporary visa for Overseas Parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents

Starting in November 2017 a temporary sponsored parent visa will be available for sponsored parents to stay in Australia for a period of 3 years or 5 years. A cumulative stay of 10 years is possible under this temporary parent visa. This temporary parent visa does not lead to a permanent visa and the sponsoring child will need to make health insurance arrangements for their parents.

15,000 places will be made available annually for this temporary parent visa. The visa application fees for the visa are:

- $5,000 for a 3-year visa

- $10,000 for a 5-year visa

The existing Parent visas (subclass 103, 173) and Contributory Parent visas (subclass 143) will still be available for new applications.

3. Visa application fees to increase on 1 July 2017

In-line with traditional practice, all visa application fees will increase on 1 July 2017. The increases are small and there are no planned large increases to particular visa application fees, such as the 50% increase on partner visa fees previously.

4. Permanent migration places 2017-18

The Budget announced that the permanent migration places will remain at 190,000 for the 2017-18 programme year. The 190,000 places do not include temporary visas or state nominated visas.

5. Staffing levels for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

The staff headcount for the DIBP is expected to be reduced by 245 positions. This may impact visa processing times (more on that at the commentary section).

We will be bringing you further updates and details as they become available.


This information is accurate on 10 May 2017

Comments by Chris Johnston – Principal Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers

The Department continues to scrutinise the employer sponsored visas. In recent times we have seen:

- abolishment of the 457 visa programme

- reducing the number of occupations for migration and temporary work

- additional employer/business requirements for certain occupations

- and now additional levy (costs) on businesses which sponsor overseas workers

The negative developments may now force many people to apply for the permanent RSMS 187 visas now before the changes come into effect. It is anticipated that there may be a rush for RSMS 187 or ENS 186 visas to be lodged up till the end of the year.

Australian businesses that genuinely need a skilled overseas worker to develop or expand their business may face further setback in their development plans. In the long term this may also impact the ability of Australian businesses to hire more local employees due to restrained growth.

With the introduction of a new temporary parent visa, plus the same number of permanent migration places and staffing cuts, the DIBP may find it difficult to manage the visa applications submitted. This may lead to further delays in processing and also potential oversights or errors in decisions, leading to increase in AAT reviews or appeals. On the submission side of things it would be best to submit application in an organised matter so that your application will be processed smoothly by the Department without questions or difficulty.

Do you need help with an Australian visa or citizenship application?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention. We have also assisted applicants with Australian citizenship applications, especially for those with unusual circumstances.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa or citizenship options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956

or   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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