Australian visa changes 2023: The opportunities for migrants this year

Australian visa changes 2023: The opportunities for migrants this year

Changes to Australian visas for 2022-23 and what a new government may bring

The start of the fiscal year on July 1 means that spots in Australia’s migration program are reset, opening up new opportunities for people from other countries. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year brings some significant changes for certain visa holders.


A wide range of visa holders will benefit from the changes.

More than 30,000 new entry points for skilled workers are set to open in Australia.

From July 1, visa changes will provide skilled workers with new pathways to permanent residency, more places for working holidaymakers, and the opportunity for graduates affected by COVID-19 border closures to make up for lost time in Australia.

Ben Watt, a lawyer with migration firm Visa Envoy, said the changes presented “exciting” opportunities for some, with a focus on assisting COVID-19’s economic recovery.

“It is extremely difficult for many people and industries to fill staff shortages, particularly in certain skilled fields,” he said.

“What this is doing is putting as many people as possible into the system.”

Mr. Watt also stated that the 1 July changes were viewed as a reward for certain visa holders who stayed in Australia during the pandemic.

“There were a lot of difficulties for people who were here on temporary visas during COVID because there was a lot of uncertainty.

“A lot of people lost their jobs or were laid off, and they couldn’t get welfare.

“The cohort of temporary visa holders encountered a variety of difficult situations.”

Here are some of the most significant changes:

Visas for temporary skill shortages

Temporary skill shortage (TSS) visa holders in subclass 482 will find it easier to apply for permanent residency.

As of March 31, 2018, there were 52,440 people in Australia on the 482 visas or related 457 visas that stopped accepting new applicants in March 2018.

From July 1, those visa holders will be able to apply for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) visa, which allows skilled workers nominated by their employer to live and work permanently in Australia.

However, the new pathway will only be open for two years now. According to Luke Edwards, an associate lawyer at Work Visa Lawyers, the temporary change will now make living in Australia more accessible for these visa holders on a permanent basis.

“A lot of them [visa holders] were looking at a difficult and uncertain path to permanent residency,” Mr. Edwards said.

“I’ve heard from clients and people who are very excited to now have the opportunity… to stay in Australia.”

Those eligible must have spent at least one year in Australia between February 1, 2020 and 14 December 2021.

The change will also affect subclass 457 visa holders who work in a job on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, the “special concession” recognized “those highly skilled migrants who chose to stay in Australia throughout the pandemic.”

“This allows them to stay here, with a pathway to Australian citizenship,” the spokesperson explained.

Exemption from the age limit

Another change affecting 457 visa holders is that they will no longer be barred from applying for permanent residency through the TRT stream due to their age.

Mr. Edwards stated that previously, these visa holders aged 45 and up had few to no options for pursuing permanent residency.

“Some people have been working in Australia for a long time now, sponsored by their employers,” he explained.

“They were unable to obtain permanent residency when they were younger and have now aged out of the system.” They’ve been hoping for this change for a long time.”

Graduate visas for a limited time

Current and former temporary graduate visa holders who lost time due to COVID-19 travel restrictions can also apply for a replacement visa beginning July 1.

People must have a valid temporary graduate visa or have previously held a temporary graduate visa that expired on or after 1 February 2020 to be eligible.

They must also have been away from Australia between February 1, 2020, and 15 December 2021.

The measure is expected to benefit approximately 30,000 current or former Temporary Graduate green card holders.

Mr. Watt stated that these graduates had the potential to quickly contribute to the workforce due to their educational experience.

“We have a large cohort of people with really great skills and really great Australian education who never had the chance to remain on and spend the time on their graduate visa here.”

However, as part of the subclass 462 visa arrangement, the number of places available to working holidaymakers from several countries will be increased by 30% from 1 July to 2022-23 only.

Mongolia and Brazil will have access to Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa program beginning in the new fiscal year, and there will be changes to age limits and caps for some countries. The age limit for Italian and Danish citizens will be raised by five years, from 30 to 35.

There will also be a cap increase of 1,400 places for Work and Holiday visa arrangements for Hungary, Austria, and the Slovak Republic.

Mr. Edwards stated that some industries were “desperately in need” of the assistance provided by working holidaymakers in addressing labor shortages.

“There is a strong demand from regional Australia and farm businesses for more workers and seasonal workers, which the work holiday visa provides,” he said.

What will the new government’s strategy be?

On July 1, places in the migration program are reset, presenting new opportunities for migrants.

The various entry points for skilled workers into Australia are about to expand by more than 30,000 places.

Labor has stated its intention to advocate for a renewed emphasis on permanent residency pathways in order to combat the insecurity caused by rising levels of temporary migration.

However, the new government, which was elected in May, inherited a migration program that was still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, and it has stated that addressing visa backlogs is its top priority.

Decisions made by its predecessors regarding the visa framework will be carried forward, with some having real consequences for those affected.

Mr. Watt stated that people should not expect “enormous change” in the visa system as a result of a change in government.

“It will take months or years, or at least twelve months before we see any significant change in direction or change.”

The cost of an Australian passport has risen. Why are they so expensive?


  • According to the Henley Passport Index, the Australian passport is one of the most “powerful” in the world.
  • An adult passport costs $325 and is valid for ten years, with a new “R series” being introduced in 2023.
  • The passport’s extensive security measures are one of its defining features.

If you are an Australian citizen in need of a new passport, expect to pay a premium.

When it comes to visa-free travel, the Australian passport is one of the most powerful in the world. It was ranked eighth in the latest Henley Passport Index, with Australians being able to visit 185 countries visa-free.

Australian passports are also among the most expensive. Canadian, Greek, and Maltese passports all allow the same amount of visa-free travel as the Australian passport but are significantly less expensive to obtain for citizens of those countries.

Canadian passports cost CAD$160 ($172), while Maltese passports cost between €70 and €80 ($107 to $122). And Greeks pay €84.40 ($130).

To compare Australia to a close neighbor, New Zealanders pay NZD$199 ($180) for their passports.

A 10-year Australian passport costs $325 as of January 1, 2023. This is an increase from $308 on January 1, 2022, and $301 on January 1, 2021.

Why is an Australian passport so costly?

According to David Beirman, an adjunct fellow in Management and Tourism at the University of Technology Sydney, the price of Australian passports could be attributed to security measures.

He pointed out that other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, have security features in their passports as well.

“That doesn’t explain why our passports are so expensive,” Dr. Beirman said.

There are also additional labor and printing costs, as well as the massive demand for travel following the relaxation of COVID restrictions. In 2022, more than 2.6 million Australian passports were issued.

Dr Behrman also said there is a “revenue-raising element” to the price of passports.

“I think the reason is probably… a lot more to do with the fact that this is pretty good revenue,” he explained.

According to the Australian Passports (Application Fees) Determination 2015, travel document fees are automatically indexed for inflation on January 1st of each year. Passport fees generate revenue for the federal government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

What are the security features of the Australian passport?

Under the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Passport Office issues passports and has officially began rolling out the R series passport, which includes new features to secure it against identity theft and counterfeiting.

According to the APO, the R series passport is “even more secure” than the P series passport, which has been on offer since 2014.

As well as the identity theft and counterfeiting protections, its photo page is made from “tough, high-security, layered plastic”.

Other security features include ultraviolet elements, as well as a color-changing wattle on the security features page.

The Australian Passport Office  said on Thursday the “1 millionth new ‘R Series’ Australian passport rolled off the production line this week”.

According to new research, this is the true cause of Australia’s cost of living crisis.

In the same week that Qantas, Woolworths, and Coles reported record profits, a new report claims that it is business profits, not workers’ wages that are driving up prices.

According to new research, excess corporate profits are a primary driver of inflation, and there is little evidence of a wage-price spiral in the Australian economy.

According to the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, businesses have raised prices far above rising labor, material, and other input costs, contributing far more to inflation than salaries and benefits.

Inflation reached 7.8 percent in the December quarter, prompting the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates nine times in order to drain demand from the financial system.

However, according to Jim Stanford’s research, inflation would still be within the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) target band of 2 to 3% if Australian firms did not make excessive profits on goods and services.

Dr. Stanford stated that without the excess price increases caused by the pandemic, inflation would likely be within the RBA target band, and there would be no need for the nine “extreme,” back-to-back interest rate hikes that were “crushing” households and mortgage holders and fueling the cost-of-living crisis.

“This data would be aggravating for Australians who are already struggling,” he said.

“We’ve been told that in order to survive, workers must limit wage growth and accept permanent reductions in living standards to fix inflation. This evidence shows that’s an economic fairy tale.”

The research comes as major Australian airlines, supermarkets, banks, and gas and oil companies report strong half-year profits.

According to new research, the excess expansion of profits per unit of production accounts for approximately 70% of the acceleration in inflation above the RBA’s target range.

Wage bill growth above normal levels has accounted for only 18% of the acceleration in inflation.

Mining and petroleum profits have led to a surge in profits due to the war in Ukraine during the pandemic recovery, but the research shows that all corporates, including small businesses, absolutely loved strong profit growth between March 2021 and June 2022.

Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said wage growth was clearly not contributing to inflation and urged large corporations to lower their prices and moderate their profit expectations.

Wages increased by 3.3 percent in the December quarter, resulting in a 4.5 percent gap between inflation and wage growth.

“Supermarkets and big business are raising prices more than necessary, and workers are feeling the pinch,” she explained.

Ms. McManus stated that large corporations understand that people have no choice but to pay the prices set for necessities such as energy and groceries.

The findings, according to Dr. Stanford, also contradict the narrative of a dangerous wage-price spiral fueling inflation

RBA Governor Philip Lowe has warned of the unlikely but disastrous consequences of a wage-price spiral, in which rising prices drive up wages, which raises prices again.

In his statement accompanying the February interest rate decision, he stressed the importance of avoiding a “prices-wages spiral” and stated that the RBA board could very well closely monitor both labor costs and firm price-setting behavior.

Australia’s 2023-24 Permanent Migration Program

The Permanent Migration Program (Migration Program) of Australia seeks to balance a variety of economic, social, and demographic objectives and priorities while focusing on Australia’s long-term national interests. The Department invited public submissions between December 2022 and January 2023 to inform the working on this issue of Australia’s Migration Program for 2023-24.

Consider the following:

What is the ideal size and composition of the permanent Migration Program for 2023-24? And why is this so?
How can we improve our migration planning process to keep Australia appealing to prospective migrants in the face of widespread labor shortages and aging populations in migrant-receiving countries?

Australian visa changes 2022: The opportunities for migrants this year

As Australia seeks to increase migration as part of its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a summary of some of the major immigration changes announced.

Migration to Australia has dropped dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to widespread travel bans and border closures, but it is expected to rebound in 2022.

This is according to the Treasury’s mid-year economic update, which shows that while net overseas migration is expected to be around minus 41,000 people in 2021-22, it is expected to rise to 180,000 people in 2022-23. (almost double the previous estimate).

Australia’s migration program is established annually and runs from July 1 to June 30 of each fiscal season. The forecast for 2024-25 remains at 235,000 people.

Which visa holders are currently permitted to enter Australia?
On 15 December 2021, Australia’s borders will reopen to eligible international students and certain skilled visa holders, nearly six months earlier than anticipated in the federal budget.

Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as their immediate family members, are permitted to enter the country.

More chances for temporary visa holders
While many temporary visa holders left Australia during the pandemic due to a lack of work and welfare support, Ben Watt, a migration lawyer for Visa Envoy, believes the focus will now be on offering permanent residency pathways to those who remained, with some of those pathways already announced.

The 2021-22 planning level was kept at 160,000 places and carried over the previous year’s composition, which meant 79,600 places for the Skill stream, 77,300 for Families, 100 for Special Eligibility, and 3,000 for children.

“[The Department of Home Affairs] appears to want to fill that 160,000 with a large number of people who are here on temporary visas. They are attempting to attract permanent migrants from within Australia “He stated.

“That’s a big difference; they’re loosening up and offering a lot of different pathways and extensions for people who are already here to achieve their migration dream.”

“The government has already introduced a number of visa changes throughout the pandemic and will continue to review visa settings to support Australia’s economic recovery,” a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said.

Permanent residency for skilled migrants in the healthcare and hospitality industries
In November, the government announced significant visa changes to retain highly skilled migrants in critical sectors as part of its economic recovery. Certain migrants who chose to stay and work in Australia during the pandemic will be eligible for permanent residency under the new rules.

Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders in the short-term stream, who were previously limited to a two-year stay without such a pathway, may benefit from the changes. Holders of the now-defunct Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa who no longer meet the age requirement may also benefit.

“This is a special concession recognizing those highly skilled migrant workers who chose to stay in Australia throughout the pandemic while continuing to address Australia’s acute shortages. “This allows them to stay in Australia with a path to citizenship,” Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said at the time.

Mr Hawke stated that the changes may benefit approximately 20,000 visa holders, with the largest cohorts working in the health and hospitality industries.
Mr Watt stated that the changes will benefit those who have been living and working in major cities in certain hospitality jobs and have struggled to gain permanent residency.

“I’ve always had a large number of cooks and dishwashers for as long as I’ve worked in the field.”

restaurant managers who come in, work for a restaurant or businesses in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, and have an ability to really contribute.”

“Workers in this field are hard to come by. So it’s been a bitter pill for these people to swallow because they’re desperately needed, but there’s no way for them to get permanent residency.”

“It puts an end to the cruelty of that situation while also providing a strong incentive for more people to pursue that path.”

According to a department spokesperson, the changes announced,
Permanent residency in the regions for skilled migrants
The Australian Immigration Agency’s managing director, Ruby Fowdar, said temporary migrants who were stranded offshore due to the pandemic were the hardest hit. However, visa holders in Australia are exempt.

Among the new permanent residency paths she highlighted was the skilled regional subclass 191 visa, which is available to people who have previously lived, worked, and studied in a designated regional area on an eligible visa.
“It’s a pathway; you must be on a 494 visa for three years before applying for the 191,” she explained.
According to the department, the visa will not be issued until November 16, 2022.

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