Tuesday, 29 March 2022
Media release

2022-23 Budget supports skilled migration to drive a stronger future

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government is addressing critical skill shortages, driving innovation and attracting investment as part of the 2022-23 Budget.

The 2022-23 permanent Migration Program ceiling will be 160,000 places.

Migration – Skill stream

The Morrison Government’s Migration Program will focus on skilled migration, with a return to a pre-pandemic composition of roughly two-thirds/one-third across the Skill and Family streams.

The Skill stream will increase to 109,900, more than 30,000 places above 2021-22 planning levels.

Within the Skill stream the categories of Employer Sponsored (30,000 places), Skilled Independent (16,652 places) and State & Territory Nominated (20,000 places) have all been increased from 2021-22 planning levels.

Regional visas will more than double to 25,000 places to support growth in regional Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment (9,500 places), Global Talent (8,448 places) and Distinguished Talent (300 places) categories will ensure that Australia remains a favoured destination for the world’s best and brightest individuals and entrepreneurs.

Occupation lists will be reviewed and updated in early 2022-23 to reflect changes in Australia’s labour market, based on advice from the National Skills Commission.

Migration – Family stream

As part of the Government’s migration program, the Family stream will provide an estimated 50,000 places to support family reunion.

The Partner and Child visa categories are estimated to deliver 40,500 and 3,000 visas respectively (delivery of Partner and Child visas will be subject to demand and visa processing requirements); while 6,000 places will be available for Parent visas; and 500 places for Other Family visas.

From 2022-23, Partner visa processing will move to a demand driven model.

Granting Partner visas on a demand driven basis will provide the flexibility to meet demand for Partner visas in a given program year, and assist in mitigating future growth in the Partner visa pipeline, while maintaining immigration integrity.

100 places will be allocated for the Special Eligibility category. This stream covers visas for those in special circumstances, including permanent residents returning to Australia after a period overseas.

Working Holiday Makers

The Government recognises the importance of the visitor economy to Australia’s national prosperity. Australia has Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with 45 countries, of which 26 partner countries operate under annual “cap” arrangements.

To support Australia’s economic future and the sustained growth of the tourism sector, the Morrison Government has announced a one-off cap increase to the number of places available to WHMs from countries with which Australia has a Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement.

As a result, around 11,000 additional WHM visas will be available for prospective backpackers. This measure is estimated to increase the underlying cash balance by $45 million over the next three years.

To further encourage the arrival of WHMs to Australia, between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022, Working Holiday Maker (WHM) (subclasses 417 and 462) visa holders who arrive in Australia can apply for a refund of the visa application charge (VAC). This complements visa refunds for Student (subclass 500) visa holders who arrive between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022.

Humanitarian program

The 2022-23 Humanitarian Program will be maintained at the current ceiling of 13,750 places and over the forward estimates, to ensure Australia remains one of the most generous humanitarian resettlement countries in the world and can respond flexibly to humanitarian crises overseas.

This will ensure Australia can continue to support, as per recent announcements, the transition of Ukrainians onto a temporary humanitarian (subclass 786) visa and to work with international partners to respond to global humanitarian needs including Myanmar.

In recognition of our sustained commitment following Australia’s two decades of operations in Afghanistan, an additional 16,500 places will be available for Afghan nationals under the Humanitarian program and will be equally allocated over the next four years. In conjunction with previous announcements, this brings the total number of places available to Afghans across Australia’s Humanitarian and Migration Programs to 31,500 over the next four program years.

To support migrant and refugee youths to enter a competitive job market and realise their full potential, the 2022-23 Budget allocates an additional $9.2 million for a Youth Transition Support (YTS) services program. This 12-month extension builds on existing work to assist young migrants to improve their education, employment and social cohesion outcomes.