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Australia's 2024-25 Migration Program: Skilled Focus, Reforms & Support

Australia’s 2024-25 Migration Program: A Breakdown of Key Changes


The Australian government recently unveiled its 2024-25 Migration Program, outlining plans for attracting skilled workers, streamlining processes, and protecting vulnerable populations. Let’s delve into the details through a human rights lens.

Permanent Migration Program 

The Government will set the 2024–25 permanent Migration Program planning level at 185,000 places and allocate 132,200 places (around 70 percent) to the Skill stream. From 2025–26, the Government will extend the planning horizon for the permanent Migration Program from one year to four years. 

The actions underway as part of the Migration Strategy are delivering a better-managed migration system. Government actions are estimated to reduce net overseas migration by 110,000 people over the forward estimates from 1 July 2024. Net overseas migration is forecast to approximately halve from 528,000 in 2022–23 to 260,000 in 2024–25 

Migration System Reforms

The Government will provide $18.3 million over four years from 2024–25 to further reform Australia’s migration system to drive greater economic prosperity and restore its integrity.

Staffing of agencies in 2023–24 and 2024–25 

Estimated average staffing levels in 2023–24 represent the significant investment in staffing in 2023–24 to rebuild service delivery capacity and capability, along with additional contractor conversions since the 2023–24 Budget. This includes resources for Services Australia to remediate the impacts of under-resourcing and reduce backlogs, and for the Department of Home Affairs to improve visa processing capabilities and speed up wait times.

Work and Holiday visa – China, Vietnam and India 

The Government will introduce a visa pre-application (ballot) process for the capped Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa program for China, Vietnam, and India The ballot process will help to manage program demand and application processing times for these countries. A ballot charge of $25 (indexed to the Consumer Price Index in future years) will apply.

Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES)

The Government will implement a new Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme (MATES) program for Indian nationals from 1 November 2024. MATES will provide a new mobility pathway for 3,000 Indian graduates and early career professionals (aged 18 to 30 years at the time of application), with knowledge and skills in targeted fields of study to live and work in Australia for up to two years. The visa will have a pre-application (ballot) charge of $25 and an application charge of $365, both of which will be indexed to the consumer price index in future years.

Extending the validity of the Business Visitor visa for Indian nationals

The validity of the Visitor visa (subclass 600) Business Visitor stream for Indian nationals from up to three years to up to five years. This measure is estimated to increase receipts by $435.0 million and increase payments by $70.9 million over the 5 years from 2023–24.

National Innovation visa, replacing the current Global Talent visa 

The Government will implement a new National Innovation visa, replacing the current Global Talent visa (subclass 858) in late 2024, to target exceptionally talented migrants who will drive growth in sectors of national importance. 

Business Innovation and Investment Visa program

The Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP) will cease, with refunds of the visa application charge provided from September 2024 for those who wish to withdraw their BIIP application. 

Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa – work experience reduced

The Government will also reduce the work experience requirement for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa from 2 years to 1 year for all applicants from 23 November 2024 onwards. 

TRA ICT improvement 

The Government will also progress a business case to develop a modern ICT solution for the assessment of trade skills for skilled migrants by Trades Recognition Australia. A modern ICT solution will make skilled workers more rapidly available to employers and support the delivery of the Government’s migration and skilled workforce objectives.

The 2024-25 Migration Program prioritizes attracting skilled workers to address economic needs, while also taking steps to streamline processes and support vulnerable populations.

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