Immigration remains to be an important subject of political discussion in Australia, and it mostly centers around the annual permanent intake of Australia. Another important issue related to immigration is concentration of new immigrants in Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne that has led to the overcrowding of these cities. The issue has all the more significance at a time when regions in rural Australia are demanding more immigrants.
Now here are the major changes that we can expect in 2019 as far as Australia immigration is concerned.
Australia’s maximum immigration intake level has been remaining at 190,000 since 2011. But last year, the actual immigration intake was just over 162,000 with the cut in the family and skilled visas bringing down the intake level. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also in favour of retaining the annual immigration level at 16000. But he also wants to give more power to states and territories in deciding the immigration intake levels to their respective regions. Government is likely to take a decision on bringing down the federal immigration intake level after the Federal elections to be held this year.
Under the new sponsorship framework for family visas, the application process involves two steps. The first step is assessment of the sponsors. The visa application can be lodged as the second step only if the assessment result is positive. This new framework aims to protect vulnerable family members, especially children and married partners from their violent sponsors. The two-stage process also means applicants will have to wait longer to obtain partner visas. It is not yet clear whether partner visa application can be submitted along with application for sponsorship. If it is not possible, the applicant will have to wait for their sponsorship application to be approved for at least 12 weeks, before they can submit an application for Partner Visa.
Australia will launch a new temporary sponsored visa for parents of the migrants that will allow them to stay in Australia for up to five years. The introduction of this new visa was announced in June 2016 before the last federal election. But it has not been introduced yet because the law linked to the visa could be passed only in November 2018.
The new visa allows parents of migrants to choose between a three-year visa that costs $5,000 and a five-year visa that costs $10,000. A maximum of 15,000 visas will be allowed to have single renewal every year.
Those who want to sponsor their parents to come to Australia must also ensure that the visiting parents have a health insurance. The sponsoring children are the financial guarantors of parents and they are responsible for repaying any debt to taxpayers caused by medical emergency.
You must also remember that migrant couple can sponsor only one set of parents under this visa.
The Federal Government has signed two Designated Area Migration Agreements with the Northern Territory and the Great Southern Coast of Victoria. These special agreements, aimed to address the labour needs of these regions, offer a pathway for permanent residency in Australia for semi-skilled migrants with limited English skills.
Australian Immigration Minister David Coleman has said that such agreements could be signed with more regions so that immigration better matches the labour market demands of the specific regions in Australia.
The Designated Area Migration Agreements lower the skills, language and income requirements for immigrants. As a result, semi-skilled migrant workers can access a pathway for permanent residency in Australia. The new pathway is being introduced at a time when there is huge demand for a standalone agriculture visa to meet the increasing demand for farm workers.
A special business visa was introduced in November last year with an aim to boost the economy of South Australia. The visa is likely to gain more significance this year with more number of applicants. Unlike most of the other business and innovation visas, this visa does not require any capital outlay.
The Subclass 408 (Temporary Activity) visa endorsed by the federal government allows the holder and their family to stay in Australia for three years.
Priority will be given to businesses in the fields of defence and space, cyber security, big data, digital and blockchain, food, wine and AgTech, health and medical technology, robotics, media and film industries. However, those with business plans related other fields can also apply. The special visa program will continue till November 2021.
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