Department of Home Affairs proposed changes starting from 1st of July 2023.

1. Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold Raised to $70,000.

The Albanese Government will increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) from $53,900 to $70,000 from July 1.

Frozen since 2013, around 90% of all full-time jobs in Australia are now paid more than the current TSMIT, undermining Australia’s skilled migration system.

The new $70,000 income threshold is approximately where the TSMIT should have been if it had been properly indexed over the previous 10 years.

This is the Government’s first action in response to the independent Review of the Migration System led by Dr Martin Parkinson, which found that Australia’s migration system is broken.

The Albanese Government is also announcing that by the end of 2023, Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) short stream visa holders will have a pathway to permanent residency within our existing capped permanent program.

This will provide employers and migrants with more certainty and will help increase the skill level in our permanent skilled program.

Together, these two measures announced today fulfil important election commitments to increase the TSMIT and expand pathways to permanent residence.

2. Changes to Australia’s Working Holiday Maker Program and the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme

The Australian Government is delivering enhanced pathways for young Australians and UK passport holders to live and work in each country.

Today the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) entered into force, commencing new arrangements under Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS).

For UK passport holders who apply for Australia’s Working Holiday visa, the new arrangements will see an increase in the eligible age range and removal of specified work requirements.

  • From 1 July 2023, UK passport holders will be able to apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive. This is a five year increase from the current maximum age of 30 years inclusive.
  • From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders will be eligible to be granted Working Holiday visas up to a total of three years without having to meet any specified work requirements.

Similarly, for Australian passport holders who apply for the UK’s YMS, the new arrangements will also see an increase in the eligible age range and the ability to stay in the UK for up to three years.

  • From 31 January 2024 Australian passport holders will:
    • be able to apply for a YMS visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive. This is a five-year increase from the current maximum age of 30 years inclusive; and
    • extend their YMS visa for a third year if they choose.

3. Direct pathway to Australian Citizenship for New Zealanders

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs have today announced a new direct pathway to Australian citizenship for eligible New Zealand citizens.

Changes in 2001 made it more difficult for New Zealanders in Australia to attain citizenship.

Today we have announced that from 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens living in Australia will have a direct pathway to Australian citizenship.

All Special Category Visa holders will be able to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent residents first, as long as they meet a four-year residence and other eligibility requirements.

This is a fair change for New Zealanders living in Australia and brings their rights more in line with Australians living in New Zealand. This is consistent with our ambition to build a fairer, better managed, and more inclusive migration system.

Many New Zealand citizens choose to live and contribute to Australia, so it is reasonable they have the opportunity to become Australian citizens and enjoy the rights and obligations that come from citizenship.

4. Expanded pathways to permanent residence

By the end of 2023, the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa will be available​ for all Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa holders whose employers wish to sponsor them.

Applicants will need to continue to work in the occupation nominated for their TSS visa(s). However, occupations will not be limited to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). We will reduce eligibility for the TRT stream from three years to two years employment with the sponsoring employer. Applicants will need to meet all other nomination and visa requirements for the TRT stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme visa.

To facilitate these pathways, the Government is also removing limits on the number of Short-term stream TSS visa applications that visa holders can make in Australia. This is an interim measure to assist those currently onshore who would normally need to go offshore to make further visa applications.

These changes are in line with the Government’s commitment at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September 2022 to expand pathways to permanent residence for temporary skilled sponsored workers. The changes will provide more equitable access to permanent residence. They will also provide more certainty to TSS visa holders and their employers about the permanent residence pathways available. Employers will be able to alleviate skills shortages by ensuring a permanent employer sponsored pathway is available for a wider range of occupations.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.


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