General Procedures

Migration Levels 2020-2021

Migration Levels 2020-2021

As part of the 2020-2021 Federal Budget, it was announced that the migration planning levels for the 2020-2021 program year will remain at 160,000 places, the same as for 2019-2020 year. However, the distribution of places will change significantly and priority will be given to Employer Sponsored, Global Talent and Business Innovation and Investment Programs. More importantly, during 2020-2021 priority will be given to onshore visa applicants and partner visa applications where a sponsor resides in a designated regional area. The Budget papers also predict net overseas migration will be minus 71,200 which is the first negative outcome since 1946.
Australia Migration Levels 2020-2021

Previous Outcomes

The total number of places granted in 2019-2020 for the permanent migration program was 140,366 which was within the planning ceiling of 160,000. Almost 70% of the visas in the permanent migration program were granted through the skilled stream that included 4,109 places under the highly skilled Global Talent Independent program, launched in November 2019.

2019-2020 outcomes
  • Skilled – 95,843
  • Family – 41,961
  • Special eligibility – 81
  • Child – 2,481
The total number of places granted in the humanitarian program in 2019-20 was 13,171.

New Levels

Although the migration planning levels for 2020-2021 remain at 160,000, it is important to note that these levels are treated as a ceiling rather than a target. The breakdown of the 2020-2021 figures is provided for each stream including various visa subclasses. The planing levels for 2019-2020 year are used in the tables below for comparison purposes only.

In the previous year two thirds of the quotas were usually allocated to the Skilled stream but in 2020-2021 it makes only 50% to the total. As a result of that and due to the redistribution of places, Skilled Independent program is reduced by two thirds, State/Territory Nominated and Regional programs are both reduced by more than a half. At the same time Business Innovation and Investment program as well as Global Talent Independent program are increased two and three-fold respectively.

  • Employer Sponsored
  • Skilled Independent
  • State Nominated
  • Regional
  • Business Innovation and Investment program
  • Global Talent
  • Distinguished Talent
  • 22,000
  • 6,500
  • 11,200
  • 11,200
  • 13,500
  • 15,000
  • 200
  • 30,000
  • 18,652
  • 24,968
  • 25,000
  • 6,862
  • 5,000
  • 200

Family stream is boosted from 47,732 to 77,300 places for this program year only. There is a clear focus on Partner visas with more that 80% increase. It is expected that 75 per cent of Partner visas will go to those already in Australia.

  • Partner
  • Parent
  • Other family
  • 72,300
  • 4,500
  • 500
  • 39,799
  • 7,371
  • 562
  • Special Eligibility
  • Child*
  • 100
  • 3,000
  • 236
  • 3,350
* Estimate only as Child visas are not subject to ceiling.

The Humanitarian Program ceiling will be reduces by 5,000 and set at 13,750 places, with a flexible mix of places between offshore and onshore categories.

Partner Visas Changes

The mandatory family sponsorship provisions for Partner visas will be implemented which will:

  • separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process
  • require the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made
  • impose statutory obligations on persons who are or were approved as family sponsors and provides for enforceable sanctions
  • allow to refuse or cancel sponsorship applications and to bar a family sponsor where inappropriate use of the program or serious offences are detected
  • improve the sharing of personal information between the sponsor and the applicant
The above changes were expected for some time and come as no surprise. But the biggest shock is the introduction of the English language requirements for Partner visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors. At this stage it appears that provisional visa holders will be required to have functional English or to have completed 500 hours of an English language program, prior to the grant of the permanent visa. This requirement is expected to come into force from late 2021, but further details are expected in the coming months.

On a positive note, partner visa applications where a sponsor resides in a designated regional area will be given priority during the 2020-21 Migration year.

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