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New Regional Visas Proposed

27 March 2019

The Australian Government has announced that the target ceiling for the migration program in the next financial year (2019 -2020), will be 160,000 visas. While the overall skilled figures have been reduced, they are constant with the actual numbers from the 2017/18 year (162,417 visas against a planned level of 190,000).

The 2018/19 program year also has a planned outcome of 190,000 visas but if the trend continues from the previous year, the actual figure is likely to be lower than the target as well.

The focus will remain on the skilled migration categories, with close to 70% of the program dedicated to employer sponsored, skilled independent, state/territory nominated and business skilled visas.

Also announced was a proposal to introduce two new skilled regional provisional visas from November 2019, and one new permanent regional visa from November 2022. This aligns with the Government’s plan to encourage migrants to move to regional Australia (which will be redefined as anywhere outside of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth).

The proposed provisional visas would be the:

  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa – requires sponsorship by an employer in a regional area, receives priority processing, and has access to a list of around 700 occupations; and
  • Skilled Work Regional visa – requires nomination by a State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member located in a regional area, receives priority processing, and has access to a list of around 500 eligible occupations.

Both provisional visas will be valid for 5 years, with a pathway to the new permanent visa after 3 years of working and living in a regional area of Australia.

Further information will be available of these new visas over the coming months and we will ensure that we keep you up to date on the developments.

Positive News for International Students

A media release from the Prime Minister dated 20 March states that there may be an additional benefit for international students studying at regional universities, giving them access to an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.