Major revisions to its immigration policy include a temporary suspension of the Significant Investor visa program, better known as ‘Golden Visa’ by Australia. The decision is a part of the program that aims at attracting more highly skilled migrants and addressing problems with misuse of investor visas and their negligible economic benefits. This change took place in a period when Australia witnessed rapid immigration, with more than half a million people entering the country during the fiscal year ending June 2023.
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The Significant Investor program is one of the most controversial programs since it required an investment above A$5 million ($3.3 million) to be eligible for a visa and did not bring significant benefits to productive sectors of the economy, often directing funds into real estate or financial assets. Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil focused on a migration system that is more beneficial to Australia. The suspension is part of a wider immigration policy that the center-left Labor government has introduced in December to limit immigrants to pre-COVID levels. This approach involves tackling the abuse of student visas and targeting skilled migrants to close workforce gaps.
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According to “The Australian” newspaper, the program was likely to be completely canceled. O’Neil, however, had earlier pointed out that the program had its drawbacks as it appealed to people at the retirement phase of life and thus cost more than benefits for Australia. Additionally, a report by the Grattan Institute, an Australian think tank in September 2022 found that the visa generated little tax revenue but cost the economy significantly in services provided to the visa holders.
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