2019 Federal Budget announcements – Immigration

On 2 April 2019, new immigration programs were introduced in conjunction with federal budget announcements.

Please be aware of your conditions and visa status in order to prevent any negative impact on your circumstances in applying the amended immigration policy.


1. Increase in visa application charge

On 1 July 2019, charges for any visa application will increase up to 5.4% (except for visitor visa (subclass 600), but the second instalment remains the same).

The government expects to have $275 million of additional tax revenues between 2018/19 financial year and 2021/22 financial year.


2. Plan for Immigration program

The number of visa approvals will decrease to 160,000 per year for the next four years (from 162,417 to fewer than 160,000).


3. Skilled Immigration Points

1) Change in skilled immigration point requirement from November 2019: despite a partner of a visa applicant being ineligible for skilled partner points, additional points could be recognised if competent English skill (IELTS score each band 6.0) is found to exist.

2) Recognition of additional points for a non-partnered individual applicant for skilled immigration for the purpose of mitigating disadvantage.


4. Announcement of new regional visas substituting for RSMS (subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (subclass 489).

1) On 1 November 2019, new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa will be announced.

2) New visas will require visa applicants to comply with more strengthened regulations.

3) RSMS (subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (subclass 489) visa will cease.


5. Extension of temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) for regional graduates.

In 2021, a temporary graduate visa could be extended for an additional 12 months for applicants under post-study work stream. Eligible applicants would have a 3 years visa in total.


6. Destination Australia program

A scholarship scheme will be available for students registering for higher education or more advanced programs than vocational education qualifications in regional areas.


7. New regional visa information

1) Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional)

  • Available form 1 November 2019
  • 9,000 applicants per year
  • Approximately 700 job categories
  • Expedited evaluation procedures
  • 5 years visa period
  • Eligible to apply for permanent residence visa after 3 years work in regional areas


2) Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)

  • Available from 1 November 2019
  • 14,000 applicants per year
  • More than 500 job categories
  • Expedited evaluation procedures
  • 5 years visa period
  • Eligible to apply for permanent residence visa after 3 years work in regional areas


3) Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa

  • Available from November 2022
  • Requirement for 3 years residence and work in regional areas
  • Eligible only for Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional) visa or Skilled Work regional (Provisional) visa holders


4) Temporary Graduate Visa

  • Available from 2021
  • Additional 12 months of second visa
  • Ongoing residence requirement in regional areas for initial temporary graduate visa period
  • Requirement for study at and graduation from regional campus

Key Contacts