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Federal Budget for 2019-2020 was delivered on 02 April and it contains several important measures relevant to the immigration and upcoming changes in some visa programs.

Two new regional visas will be implemented from November 2019

From November 2019, two new regional visas will be implemented: the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa, and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, which will replace the existing Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa, and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489). The new visas will permit skilled migrants to stay and work in regional Australia for a period of five years.

From November 2022, the Government will also introduce a new Permanent Residence visa for regional Australia.

The Government will also implement enhanced compliance activities to support the new visas.

Migration intake reduced to 160 000

Number of permanent residency visa granted in the new financial year will be reduced by 30,000 from 190 000 to 160 000. This measure will be implemented for the next 4 years. For the 2019-2020 financial year, there will be 108,682 places in the Skill stream (e.g. General Skilled Migration and Employer Nomination visas), 47 732 places in the family stream and 3,586 places in Child and special eligibility streams

485 extension

From November 2021, eligible international students will be able to apply for an additional year on a second post-study work visa if they complete a higher education or postgraduate qualification in a regional area, and live in a regional area while holding a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.

VAC increase

The Government is increasing the base visa application charge for all visa subclasses, with the exception of the Visitor (subclass 600) visa, by 5.4 per cent from 1 July 2019. There will be no increase to second instalment VACs.

Additional points for secondary applicants

From November 2019, the Skilled Migration Points Test will be adjusted to award additional points to primary applicants when their partner has competent English but does not meet the existing requirements for skilled partner points. Single applicants will also be awarded additional points to ensure they are not disadvantaged. The Skilled Migration Points Test currently awards additional points to primary applicants where their partner is under 45 years old, has competent English, and has a skilled occupation applicable for the visa subclass and stream they have been invited to apply for. These changes will prioritise applicants who are single or whose partner can demonstrate competent English and therefore have the best potential to participate in the Australian labour market.

Contact us for more information about how these changes can impact your situation and visa options. Our registered migration agent will be happy to talk to you during a consultation about your individual case.