Budget 2017-18 changes affecting the immigration progam

Yesterday the government announced the  2017 - 18 Budget. Some of the changes are going to affect the Immigration program:

  • Visa Application Charges (VAC) will be indexed from July 1: All current VACs will be indexed annually in line with the forecast Consumer Price Index. Indexation only applies to the 1st installments VAC, but for both primary and secondary applicants. Indexation will not apply to 2nd installments VAC.  Below is a list of the new post-July price tags for all visas.
  • No changes to the permanent immigration intake: The program remains at 190,000 places
  • New Occupation Lists: The Skilled Occupation List will be replaced by the Medium and Long-term Skilled List. The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List is replaced by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List.
  • The 457 visa will be  abolished  and replaced by the new dual stream Temporary Skill Shortage visa
  • The Training Benchmarks will be replaced by the 'Skilling Australians Fund Levy: From March 2018, businesses with turnover of less than $10 million per year will be required to make an upfront payment of $1,200 per visa per year for each employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage visa, or a one-off payment of $3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.
  • Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa: The new temporary sponsored parent visa will be introduced in November 2017. 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.
  • Age Pension and Disability Support Pension (DSP) eligibility: From 1 July 2018 claimants will be required to have 15 years of continuous Australian residence before being eligible to receive the Age Pension or DSP unless they have either 10 years continuous Australian residence, with five years of this residence being during their working life (16 years of age to Age Pension age); or 10 years continuous Australian residence, without having received an activity tested income support payment for a cumulative period of five years.
  • 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.
  • Humanitarian Programme: The number of refugee resettlement places will increase by 2,500 to a total of 16,250 places in the 2017-18 program.
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection: The Government will invest $185.4 million over four years from 2017-18 in significant reforms to Australia’s visa processing arrangements, including enhancements to the visa framework to support economic and migration objectives; improvements to existing ICT systems to support the potential for expanded service delivery by market based providers; and replacements of existing ICT systems to enhance the Government’s ability to verify the identity of individuals arriving in Australia.