Australia Announced Visa Changes For 2022-23
New Immigration Changes In The Federal Budget 2022-2023
Recently, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese defended the modifications made to Australia’s migration program in his government’s first federal budget. He stated that the government had allocated a considerable amount of funds for the migration program.
According to the budget revealed in October, the Australian government will provide an extra $576 million over the course of four years to the Department of Home Affairs for activities which include offshore processing costs, supporting refugees and visa processing.
Prime Minister Albanese stated that this is a significant improvement in funding for Home Affairs, as the government is trying to get the processing of visas going again.
The $576 million amount includes an additional $194 million to make up for the deficit in funding for maintaining overseas processing centres, including around $150 million to be used in the 2022-23 fiscal year. The government intends to spend around $632 million in 2022-2023 on overseas processing
According to some reports, recently a private prison operator has been provided with a $47.3 million contract to manage Australia’s offshore processing centers in Nauru for 2 months. The private prison operator will be paid more than three-quarters of a million dollars on a daily basis to provide services for 111 detainees for a period of 62 days.
While addressing Australia’s visa backlog, Prime Minister Albanese also stated that almost a million people were waiting for their visas to be processed when his government took office. Which in turn further aggravated the issue of skill shortages in Australia.
He further added that the delays in visa processing are hindering family reunions, and negatively affecting the people who want to visit Australia and its economy. He stated that the substantial investments are in line with his party’s promise prior to the elections.
Yet still, some critics have stated that the latest federal budget has failed to keep up with expectations.
What Is Included In The Labor Party’s Federal Budget?
The previous government of Scott Morrison had reduced funding for the migration program to by $875 million over the course of four years and kept the numbers for skilled and family visas to 160,000. As a result, the duration for visa processing has gotten longer. In addition to this, Australian businesses have complained of difficulties in recruiting enough people with the appropriate skills.
Previously, the present Australian government of Anthony Albanese announced it would increase visa numbers for the permanent migration program to 195,000 in 2022-23. Including the number of visas available for family members and skilled migrants.
But, no plans to change this number were included in the federal budget. However, the government did present a new Pacific Engagement Visa for citizens of Timor-Leste and Pacific Island countries. Starting next year, up to 3,000 places will be available for the citizens of Pacific Island countries every year along with 195,000 for the permanent program.
Another announcement made in the federal budget pertained to the increase in the number of skilled visas. The available number of Skilled Visas will be significantly increased from 79,600 to 142,400. This includes skilled independent, employer-sponsored, regional and state nominated visas.
For the category of family visas, the government has increased the share of parent visas from 4,500 in 2021-22, to 8,500 in 2022-23. Partner and child visas will have no limited allocations and will be issued according to the demand. Also, 100 special eligibility visas and around 500 other family visas will be available.
The visa allocation for the humanitarian visa program will remain the same with 13,750 available spots in 2022-23, and an additional 16,500 for Afghan refugees throughout upcoming four years.
In September, at the Jobs and Skills Summit, the Albanese government pledged to speed up the duration of visa processing. The government also made the announcement of providing an additional $36.1 million to recruit up to 500 people for nine months to assist in tackling the issue of long wait times.
Speaking at the summit, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles stated that there were around one million visas in the backlog, waiting to be processed when their government won the elections in May. Since then, the average processing time for a temporary skilled visa has been reduced to 42 days in July compared to 53 days in July.
In October, Immigration Minister Mr Giles stated that the department had completed the processing of more than two million applications but the backlog of approximately 872,000 applications still remained. This is because of a considerable rise in demand since the lifting of travel restrictions and borders opening after being shut down due to the global pandemic.
He added that Australia is bouncing back in regard to visa applications. Since 1 June 2022, the Australian government has received around 2.22 million new applications, compared to around 495,000 for the same period last year.
The Immigration Minister said the Department of Home Affairs had already hired 260 staff to assist with visa processing, and more were to be hired and trained in the following weeks and months.
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