If you’re considering submitting an application for a migrant work visa, the time to do so is now. From 1 July 2019, the cost of all visa applications (except the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa) is set to rise by 5.4%.

The price hike is just one of several changes that the current Government announced in the 2019 Federal budget. Additionally, it confirmed it will reduce Australia’s permanent migration intake by 30,000 places each year for the next four years, and it provided further details on upcoming changes to Australia’s skilled migration policies.

New Regional Visas

The following new regional visas will be introduced to replace the existing Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visa and Skilled Regional Subclass 489 Visa.

Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional) Visa: 9,000 placements will be allocated per year from 1 November 2019.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa: 14,000 placements will be allocated per year from 1 November 2019.

Permanent Residency (Skilled Regional) Visa: This visa will be available from November 2022.

Temporary Graduate Visa – Regional: This visa will be available from 2021.

Other changes to the visa system will in effect, redirect skilled migrant workers from metro areas to regional areas of Australia. For example, the number of overseas migrants able to settle in metropolitan areas under the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visa in the General Skilled Migration program will be reduced by 20,000.

However, settling into a regional area permanently will become more difficult. While it is currently possible for migrants to apply for employer-sponsored permanent residence in a regional area without a waiting period, the new regional employer-sponsored visa will require migrants to live and work in a regional area for three years before applying for permanent residence.

Additionally, changes to the points-tested requirement for general Skilled Migration visas will change from November 2019. Primary applicants will be able to access additional points if their partner has competent English but cannot meet the requirements for skilled partner points. Changes to single applicants are yet to be confirmed.

The 5.4% price rise for visas is expected to generate an extra $275 million from 2018/19 to 2021/22.

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