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Migration Update : 21 Apr 2023

1. Investor and business visa likely to be axed or overhauled

Major visa programs designed to lure overseas entrepreneurs, investors and business owners to boost Australia’s high-tech industries are likely to be axed or overhauled, saving federal and state government budgets billions over the long term.

2. Australia’s migration system will undergo major restructuring, consolidating visa categories.

Australia’s broken migration system will be dramatically reorganised, with significantly fewer visas categories and an overhaul of the controversial global talent and business investor visas that attract thousands of applicants but cost billions in their current form.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil is considering the findings of an expert review led by former public service chief Martin Parkinson, ahead of next month’s federal budget.
Ms O’Neil is seeking structural reform of the system, which has aged poorly since the last major changes in the 1990s and has warned business that not all the fixes can be delivered in the short term.

AFR Weekend understands hundreds of visa subcategories will be consolidated into a simpler, more business-friendly system, designed to quickly address worker shortages and focus on visas that bring maximum bang for buck.

3. Global talent likely to be scrapped.

The visa requires exceptional professional achievements and an income of at least $162,000 a year in Australia, but almost 60% of visas went to those already in the country.
Scott Morrison’s multimillion-dollar global talent visa is also understood to be in the firing line.
The former Coalition government launched a limited pilot of the global talent visa scheme in July 2018, promising to attract the best and brightest to boost Australia’s capabilities in high-tech emerging industries.

Global talent candidates are required to demonstrate an exceptional record of professional achievement and show they would earn more than $162,000 a year in Australia.
The program was rapidly scaled up under the Morrison government, but nearly 60 per cent of visas issued through the program to lure overseas business leaders to Australia went to people already in the country.

4. Work hours limit for student visa will be changed from 1 July 2023

From 1 July 2023, the Australian Government will re-introduce limits on the number of work hours allowed for student visa holders (subclass 500) studying and working in Australia.
Student visa work restrictions were relaxed throughout the pandemic, and temporarily removed in January 2022. This temporary arrangement will end on 30 June 2023.
From 1 July 2023, the number of work hours allowed during study terms and semesters will be capped at the increased amount of 48 hours per fortnight, during study terms and semesters.

5. The backlog of unprocessed visas has been cut to about 570,000 from almost 1 million when Labor came into office.

But despite the surge in interest in moving to Australia, the backlog of unprocessed visas has been cut to about 570,000 from almost 1 million when Labor came into office.The allocation of an additional 600 staff has generated significant reductions in processing times for certain skilled worker visas.