MIGRATION PROGRAM - Budget 2017-2018

Overview

The 2017-18 Budget handed down on 09th May 2017 included the following elements impacting the immigration program, migrants and professionals of migration industry.

 

Visa Application Charges (VAC) increase

Indexation of visa application charges will occur from 1 July 2017. All current VACs will be indexed annually in line with the forecast

Consumer Price Index (CPI).

•     Indexation applies only to the 1st instalment component of the VAC, for both primary and secondary applicants.

•     Indexation does not apply to 2nd instalment VACs.

 

Revenue from VACs is expected to increase to $2,275.6 million in 2017-18, an increase of $190.1 million over the 2016-17 estimates.

 

A full list of the VAC increases is available:  https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/budget/visa-price-increase- fact-sheet-2017-18.pdf

 

Training Benchmarks - Skilling Australians Fund Levy

This levy will replace the current training benchmarks for employers sponsoring workers on Subclass 457 and permanent Employer

Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 visas.

From March 2018, businesses with turnover of less than $10 million per year will be required to:

•     make an upfront payment of $1,200 per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa

•     a one-off payment of $3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

 

Businesses with turnover of $10 million or more per year will be required to:

•     make an upfront payment of $1,800 per visa year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa

•     a one-off payment of $5,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

 

This measure is estimated to achieve revenue of $1.2 billion over the forward estimates period, which will be used to meet future skills needs, with a particular focus on apprenticeships and traineeships.

 

Temporary Sponsored Parent visa

The new temporary sponsored parent visa will be introduced in November 2017, with 15,000 visas to be made available annually. This visa will allow the temporary stay of sponsored parents in Australia for periods of up to three or five years. The visa may be renewed from outside Australia to allow a cumulative stay of up to ten years.

 

Temporary sponsored parent visa holders will not be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent parent visa. The visa holder’s sponsor, their Australian child, will have legal liability for any public health expenditure (including aged care arrangements) incurred by the visa holder in Australia.

 

The Department will undertake a review of this new visa at the end of the first program year.

NOTE: Existing contributory and non-contributory parent visas will remain unchanged and open to new applicants.

 

Permanent Migration programme

The permanent migration programme will remain at 190,000 places for the 2017-18 programme.

 

Age Pension and Disability Support Pension (DSP) eligibility

From 1 July 2018, stricter residency rules for new migrants to access Australian pensions will be introduced. Claimants will be required to have 15 years of continuous Australian residence before being eligible to receive the Age Pension or DSP unless they have either:

•     10 years continuous Australian residence, with five years of this residence being during their working life (16 years of age to

Age Pension age); or

•     10 years continuous Australian residence, without having received an activity tested income support payment for a cumulative period of five years.

•     Existing exemptions for DSP applicants who acquire their disability in Australia will continue to apply.

 

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

The Government will invest $185.4 million over four years from 2017-18  in significant reforms to Australia’s visa processing

arrangements, including:

▪ enhancements to the visa framework to support economic and migration objectives;

▪ improvements to existing ICT systems to support the potential for expanded service delivery by market based providers; and

▪ replacements of existing ICT systems to enhance the Government’s ability to verify the identity of individuals arriving in Australia. Total resourcing for the Department will decrease from the 2016-17 Budget estimate of $7.6 billion to an estimated $6.4 billion for 2017-

18.

Enhancing the visa system

Automation and technology will be further improved to facilitate the processing of the rising number of travellers. An allocation of $35.4 million in forward estimates will be made to fund a long-term programme to enhance the visa system.

 

Biometrics

An allocation of $59.9 million over four years will be made to enhance large scale biometrics storage and processing capabilities, commencing 1 July 2017. This will allow higher volume storage, analysis and data sharing of facial image and fingerprint biometrics.

 

Staffing levels

The overall staffing levels of the Department is projected to decrease from 14,000 to 13,755 positions, down 245 staff places overall.

 

Stay tuned for more information.