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Australian Visa Changes 2024 Highlights

Publish Date: 02/01/2024

The Albanese government introduced reforms in Temporary Skilled Migration and International Education.

  • The Albanese government aims to reduce Net Overseas Migration from 510,000 (2022-23) to 375,000 (2023-24) and further to 250,000 (2024-25), shifting away from "permanent temporariness." This involves promoting pathways to permanent residency and combatting migrant exploitation.
  • A new four-year temporary skilled worker visa is introduced, replacing the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, offering three pathways for different skill levels.
  • Stricter English tests for student and temporary graduate visas; student visa applicants now require an IELTS score of 6.0 (up from 5.5) to enhance international students' skill levels.
  • The "Genuine Student Test" is implemented to distinguish committed students from those intending primarily to work, fostering applications from genuinely education-focused individuals.
  • New processing priorities for student visas focus on scrutinizing applications from "high-risk providers," aiming to remove unscrupulous providers from the system.
  • Changes to temporary graduate visas (from mid-2024) include reducing the age limit to 35 (from 50) and shortening visa duration for certain degrees.
  • Phasing out COVID concessions, including discontinuing the Pandemic Event Visa and uncapped working hours for international students, aligns migration numbers with pre-pandemic levels.
  • Introduction of the Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) for eligible migrants from Pacific countries and Timor Leste, allowing up to 3,000 nationals to migrate to Australia annually.
  • A $160 million package is announced to strengthen the refugee visa system, including real-time priority processing for Protection Visa applications.

Future Reforms in 2024:

The government plans further reforms, including consultations on regulating migration for lower-paid workers with essential skills, reshaping permanent skilled migration, and addressing regional migration and the Working Holiday Maker program. A discussion paper is expected to be released early in the year.

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