General Procedures

Migration Levels 2019-2020

Migration Levels 2019-2020

Australian permanent migration program is divided into four main streams: skilled, family, special eligibility and child. The program is designed to bring economic benefits to Australia and to allow Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with their close family members. In addition, it provides visas for people in special circumstances including former residents. Apart from uncapped child stream, the planning levels for other streams are set by the federal government each year. As part of 2019-2020 Federal Budget, it was announced that the total number of places available for permanent migration will be reduced by more than 15% for the next four years.
Australia Migration Levels 2019-2020

Previous Levels

The size and the make-up of the Migration program is set annually during the budget process. To ensure the best possible outcomes for the Australian community, the planning levels are treated as a ceiling rather than a target. Consequently, outcomes for each year may vary due to various factors. Accurate figures for the 2018-2019 are not available yet, but they are expected to be similar to those in 2017-2018.

2017-2018 outcomes
  • Skilled – 111,099
  • Family – 47,732
  • Special eligibility – 236
  • Child – 3,350
The total outcome of the migration program for 2017–2018 was 162,417 places which was well under the previously set ceiling of 190,000.

New Quotas

The new ceiling is set at 160,000 and the breakdown of the 2019-2020 figures is provided for each stream including various visa subclasses. The figures for 2017-2018 outcomes are used in the tables below for comparison purposes.

  • Employer Sponsored
  • Skilled Independent
  • State Nominated
  • Skilled Regional (will be discontinued)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored (available from Nov 2019)
  • Skilled Work Regional (available from Nov 2019)
  • Business Innovation and Investment program
  • Global Talent
  • Distinguished Talent
  • 30,000
  • 18,652
  • 24,968
  • N/A
  • 9,000
  • 14,000
  • 6,862
  • 5,000
  • 200
  • 35,528
  • 39,137
  • 27,400
  • 1,574
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • 7,260
  • N/A
  • 200

Total numbers for family, special eligibility and child streams will remain the same.

  • Partner
  • Parent
  • Other family
  • 39,799
  • 7,371
  • 562
  • 39,799
  • 7,371
  • 562
  • Special Eligibility
  • Child
  • 236
  • 3,350
  • 236
  • 3,350

More than two thirds of the quotas are allocated to the Skilled stream, with a focus on categories that allow employers and states or territories to nominate skilled migrants. Notably, the biggest change in the Skilled migration stream is the reduction of the skilled independent visa numbers by almost 50%. At the same time, there is a clear focus on new regional work and employer sponsored visas that are boosted by 14,000 and 9,000 places respectively.

New Visas

In November 2019 the definition of Regional Australia will be simplified and expanded to include all of Australia except for the following metropolitan areas:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Gold Coast
  • Perth
Regions within the new regional definition will have access to the two new skilled regional provisional visas available from 1 November 2019:
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored – for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia
  • Skilled Work Regional – for people nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by a family member to live and work in regional Australia

Some features of these visas will include priority processing, five year validity and access to additional skilled occupations. Almost 700 occupations will be available for Skilled Employer Sponsored visa and over 500 occupations for Skilled Work Regional visa.

Under these new visas, migrants will be required to live and work in a regional area of Australia for at least three years before they can apply for permanent residence. A new permanent visa pathway will also be available in November 2022:

  • Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) – for holders of the new regional provisional visas

In addition, a new graduate visa will be available from 2021:

  • Temporary Graduate Regional – for people who have graduated with a higher education or post graduate qualification after studying at regional campuses
Scholarships will also be available for international and domestic students to study in regional Australia for higher education or vocational education qualifications. International graduates will be able to extend their visa for one more year if they maintain ongoing residence in regional area during the first Temporary Graduate visa.

These new regional visas will provide further incentives for migrants to bring their skills to regional Australia and grow the Australian economy.

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