While the international movement of people has nearly altogether halted in 2020 due to the global pandemic, the Australian Government is working hard to welcome workers back through its borders. The Government recognises the value that the global workforce has in rebuilding the Australian economy, with the need to balance any impact on the local labour market.
Visa processing from the Department of Home Affairs has slowed considerably since March and there is a cap on international arrivals. However, there is an ongoing need for Australian businesses to retain and engage skills that aren’t available in the local market.
Our team of migration experts are staying abreast of the developments that are changing every week. There has been a lot of activity throughout September from the Government about how the migration program can be used to kick-start the economy.
The main developments that will get migration moving again are as follows:
Increase on daily arrival limits
There will be an increase in international arrivals from 28 September. The cap will go from 4000 to just over 6000 weekly arrivals with a further increase expected by 12 October. These increases will also support capacity for certain visa holders that can now access travel exemptions.
Priority skills list
A new priority skills list of 17 occupations that fill critical skills needs in rebuilding Australia’s economy. Employer sponsored workers (under Temporary and Permanent Visas) that qualify into these occupations, will receive fast-tracked assessment of their applications and relaxed travel exemptions.
Increased labour market testing
The introduction of new labour market testing measures for temporary employer sponsored applications lodged from 1 October. The new requirements need evidence of a total of three adverts per role, including an ad published on the Government’s Jobactive website.
State and Territories migration places
Allocation of interim places to the State and Territories to allow sponsorship under General Skilled Migration and Business Innovation and Investment categories, through to the beginning of October. Further places are expected to be released as part of the Budget process.
New Government taskforce
Introduction of a new taskforce offering a streamlined pathway to permanent residency. The taskforce will encourage talent from three key sectors, with the expectation that this talent will assist Australia’s economic recovery. The sectors are advanced manufacturing, financial services (including FinTech) and health.
Retrospective COVID-19 Concessions for varied visa classes, including Regional Sponsored, Business Innovation and Investment and Graduate Visas (commencing 1 February 2020). Concessions will ensure that temporary and provisional visa holders, including individuals who are on a pathway to permanent residency, are not disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control. Such as border closures, restrictions imposed on businesses and the general economic downturn related to COVID-19.
Australian Citizen Test
The Citizenship Test is going through some changes and from 15 November 2020, the test will have a clear focus on Australian values. The test will require potential citizens to understand and commit to Australian values. These include freedom of speech, mutual respect, equality of opportunity, the importance of democracy and the rule of law which are derived from the Government’s new Social Cohesion strategies.
A Budget announcement is due on 6 October 2020 and these migration changes are expected to complement the upcoming budget. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently remarked in a speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry that “The population will be smaller and older than previously assumed because of the sharp drop in net overseas migration”.
If you have any questions about skilled visa sponsorship in Australia, please get in touch with our migration team by emailing us, or call +61 3 9600 0333.