New System To Grant Nearly 3000 Visas To Applicants
According to a recent announcement from the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, the permanent visa ballot system is going to start in July 2023, right with the introduction of a new Pacific Engagement Visa, or PEV. What’s important to note here is that the permanent visa ballot system has a lot of similarities with the New Zealand model for the green card US Diversity Visa Lottery and Pacific workers.
Moreover, the PEV is expected to grant nearly 3000 visas to Pacific and Timor-Leste passport holders in the upcoming program year.
Like other visa applications, applicants for the PEV can also add their partners and dependent children. Here are the requirements for the PEV for the primary applicant;
- Must be aged between 18 and 45 years
- Should have an employment contract in Australia
- Should fulfill all the English language, health, and character criteria
The registrations are likely to be flooded with applicants already living in Australia on subclass 403 Temporary Work visas as per the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Stream. This is because the PEV requires applicants to have a formal job offer in Australia.
Interested applicants are first required to go through a ballot lodged online at the Department of Home Affairs in the same way as the SkillSelect program. However, the selection of applicants will take place randomly. This is what makes this system different from the SkillSelect program, in which invitations to apply are issued using a computer system by considering the number of points declared in the filed Expressions of Interest, or EOI, guided by humans.
New legislation was recently introduced to parliament in order to embed this system and amend the Migration Act 1958 to deal with the random nature of the program.
These amendments are expected to develop a pre-application process to help select the registered applicants at random from a large pool of registrations. Now, the period for which the registrations remain open can be for an unlimited time or a limited time, which could be extended as needed. The same goes for the period for which the selection of applicants stays open. While a computer system is going to select ballots randomly, it can also be done without computers.
The bottom line is that the Minister is going to fix the criteria for any pre-application process with the help of a legislative instrument to determine factors like the applicant’s age, passport held, and English language requirements.
The interesting thing to note here is that there is a high possibility for more than one pre-application process being operational at the same time. This means one visa would have multiple ballots, along with visa pre-application process charges that applicants will have to pay during registration. According to the explanatory memorandum, a further Migration Charge Bill 2023 is about to be introduced, which will include a maximum charge of $100 to be indexed annually. Although, this charge could also be zero. On the other hand, the submission of an Expression of Interest for the SkillSelect program is free of cost.
So, does this mean that we are going to have more lottery-style visas in the future with participation costs?
The answer is yes, provided that the legislation is passed.