Listed below is a summary of some of the budget announcements which will have an effect on immigration related issues:
- Annual Intake; there is to be no change to the migration program numbers which will remain at 190,000 places for the 2017/18 year.
- Temporary Employment Visas; as announced prior to the budget there have been significant changes to the 457 scheme; several hundred occupations are no longer eligible for temporary work purposes, the 457 Visa will soon be abolished and replaced by a new visa to be known as the dual stream Temporary Skills Shortage Visa and only those employees whose occupations appear on the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List will be eligible for transition to permanent residence after three years of employment with the sponsoring employer (previously two years).
- Training Benchmarks; a levy, referred to as the Skilling Australians Fund Levy, will replace the current training benchmarks for employers sponsoring workers on 457 and 186 visas. From March 2018, businesses with turnover of less than $10 million per year will be required to make an upfront payment of $1200 per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa. A one-off payment of $3000 will be required for each employee being sponsored for permanent employment under either the Employer Nomination Scheme or Regional Sponsored Migration.For businesses with turnover in excess of $10 million the payments will be $1800 and $5000 respectively.
- Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa; this is a new visa to be introduced in November 2017 with an allocation of 15,000 visas annually. It 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. The sponsor (the Australian child) will be responsible for any public health expenditure incurred by the visa holder whilst in Australia.
- Foreign Investors; A Foreign Investors Tax Levy of $5000 per year will be imposed on foreign investors who do not occupy or lease their Australian properties for at least 6 months of the year. In addition, other tax measures aimed at foreign investors -principally dealing with capital gains tax – have been announced.
- Age Pension and Disability Support Pension Eligibility; from 1 July 2018 more strict 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 a disability support pension. Certain exemptions will apply.