Upcoming Immigration Changes in Australia


The Department of Immigration has provided the peak membership body, the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), with confirmation that the SkillSelect round for June 2019 will remain at 100 invitations for the Independent Skilled stream 10 invitations for the Skilled-Regional Provisional (subclass 489) Family Sponsored stream.

This is an effort to manage the pipeline of applications on hand and avoid increasing processing times for people who have already been invited to, and have applied for, a visa.

The 2019-20 Migration Program ceiling for the Skilled Independent category (including the subclass 189 New Zealand stream) has been reduced to 18,652 places – a significant decrease from previous years – which means further management of applications is needed to continue to keep sending invitations for each month in the 2019-20 program year.

Due to the new regional visas being implemented in November 2019, it appears that Immigration has already started changing their workflow processes in order to handle an ‘influx’ of applications.

The invitation round on 11 June was disappointing for many people, but with the new financial year on 1 July there is a moderate hope to see some positives with the new monthly invitation quotas and new State nomination lists.


Migration Intake numbers

The government will cap permanent migration intake at 160,000 per year over the next 3 years, including refugee cap of 18,750 new migrants. 70 per cent will be in the Skill stream and 30 per cent in the Family stream. Number of Employer Sponsored skilled visas increasing from 35,528 grants in 2017-18 to 39,000 places in 2019-20. State/Territory Nominated category, increasing from 28,974 grants in 2017-18 to 38,968 places in 2019-20, providing states and territories a greater say in migration. Global Talent – Independent program on 1 July 2019 aimed at attracting the very best talent from around the world, with 5,000 places allocated in the 2019-20 Migration Program. No change to the Family stream of the program, with 47,732 places available in 2019-20


The government will roll out more DAMA across Australia- stronger incentives for new people to Australia to settle outside the big capitals in areas that will welcome their skills and expertise. 23,000 places each year for regional visas to encourage a greater number of migrants to settle outside Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and south-east Queensland.

Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA) for the Northern Territory, the Great South Coast Region of Victoria, the Orana region of Western New South Wales, South Australia (1x regional and 1x Adelaide) and Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the Western Australian Goldfields.

These five-year arrangements allow employers in designated regions to sponsor skilled workers (via the Temporary Skill Shortage 482 visa and Employer Nomination Scheme visa programs) for occupations not available under the standard visas.

Occupation lists that reflect both short and medium to long term skills gaps, as well as acute shortages in regional Australia.

Employer Sponsored visas

Stricter labour market testing – so that skilled migration is only used where an Australian worker is not available and stronger English language, age and work experience requirements.

Regional Provisional and Permanent visas

Under two new regional visa categories (Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa and Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored), skilled migrants will be priority processed and afforded access to a larger pool of jobs on the eligible occupation lists compared to those who live in our major cities. Skilled migrants will have a pathway to permanent residence under the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional).

Extra points will be awarded for migrants living and working in regional Australia, and states and territories can request access to an increased allocation of dedicated regional migration places.

Regional Australia will encompass all of Australia outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane/Gold Coast and Perth. Visa recipients will need to live and work in regional Australia for three years before becoming eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Australia PR Points Calculator from 16 November 2019

Changes to working holiday maker program

A third year visa option for all Working Holiday Makers who from July 2019 carry out six months of specified work in regional areas.

Increased the period in which all Working Holiday Makers can stay with the same agricultural (plant and animal cultivation) employer, from six to 12 months.

Expanded the regional areas where subclass 462 visa holders can work in agriculture (plant and animal cultivation) to qualify for a second year of stay. Previously only those 462 visa holders who worked in Northern Australia were eligible.

Lifted the caps in 2018-19 on Work and Holiday visas from Chile, Israel, Peru and Spain with further negotiations underway.

Increased the eligible age from 30 to 35 years for Working Holiday visa applicants, starting with Canada and Ireland from November 2018.

Began a new Work and Holiday arrangement with Greece in March 2019.

What will likely NOT happen now that Labor has lost the 2019 election

Labor made a number of promises for various visas, including putting an end to the 15,000 place cap on parent visas where Australian families have to choose which set of parents can visit.

Labor intended to introduce a ‘Long Stay Parent’ visa that allows families to bring both sets of parents out and proposed to drop the cost of these visas: three-year visas that currently set you back $5,000 to cost $1,250, while the $10,000 price tag for a five-year visa to come down to $2,500.

Labor also intended to increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from $53,900 to $65,000 per year.(Source https://www.seekvisa.com.au/liberal-election-win-and-australia-immigration-policy/)