Since taking power in May, the new administration led by Labor’s Anthony Albanese has already significantly altered Australia’s immigration laws and started to address the visa backlog.
The government has promised to examine the use of skilled migration occupation listings, which some people say are out-of-date, so there may be even more changes in 2023. This provides all applicants with many Australian visa opportunities for 2023.
It was still early in the COVID-19 pandemic when the most recent update to the Skilled Migration Occupation List was made on March 11th, 2019. Since then, many changes have been made. We will go through those significant changes and 5 major Australian visa opportunities that applicants should avail of in 2023.
Increase in Skilled Migration Places
The administration declared shortly after taking office that the permanent migration program would increase from 160,000 to 195,000 places for skilled and family visas in 2022–2023. The number of skilled visas made available through the program will rise from 79,600 to 142,400, according to the budget released in October.
The abolition of age limitations for those with subclass 457 visas, an increase in the number of people who qualify for visa 462 working holiday maker visas, and revisions to Temporary skill shortage visa 482 were also announced by the government.
According to recent estimates, over 19,000 refugees with temporary protection visas will soon be able to seek permanent residency in Australia. This, however, has not been confirmed by the government, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs.
Now let’s take a closer look at the Australian visa opportunities for 2023.
Key Australian Visa Opportunities
For 2023, here are the five key Australian visa opportunities
1. New visa for certain countries
In July 2023, a new visa will be introduced, offering 3,000 places for qualified immigrants from the Pacific region and Timor Leste.
Every year, vacancies for the Pacific Engagement visa (PEV) will be distributed by ballot. In addition to the openings in Australia’s permanent migration program, these visas will be made available.
2. New Zealanders receive priority processing
Australian residents of New Zealand will receive priority processing for their applications for Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visas.
The department no longer requires applicants to have lived in Australia for at least five years, achieve specific taxable income thresholds, or meet certain health conditions in order to be granted a visa.
Until the backlog in the system is cleared, the department will not be accepting new visa applications from 10 December 2022 to 1 July 2023.
The department website says
The following streamlining measures introduced acknowledge that this group of New Zealand citizens are long-term residents of Australia, have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The advantages of permanent residence, such as quick enrollment in the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Automatic citizenship for their Australian-born children, will become more accessible to those granted visas.
Those granted a New Zealand stream visa will also have their citizenship pathway fast-tracked starting on January 1, 2023. This is one of the major Australian visa opportunities, and the residents of New Zealand can get benefitted from this.
3. State-sponsored visas available
The former secretary of the Department of Immigration Secretary Abdul Rizvi, says that the visas that are sponsored by states and territories are expected to increase readily in 2023 as a result of the more significant allocation provided to regional areas.
Mr. Rizvi said
What I’m noticing is some of the states are actually struggling to deliver quickly enough and so a lot of them are making changes to make their systems faster.
A representative for the Department of Home Affairs stated that the department has established the majority of state and territory administrations’ nominated places. These nominated planning level places for different categories are as follows:
- 31,000 places for visa 491
- 34,000 additional places for visa 190
- 5,000 additional places for visa 188
In 2018-2019 only 647 skilled regional visas and around 25,346 state and territory-nominated visas were issued. These numbers were before the COVID-19 pandemic, after which Australia’s migration statistics were significantly reduced.
States and territories are making it more straightforward for people to apply for state-nominated visas by loosening up several requirements, including their listings of specialized occupations.
One of the main benefits of a state-sponsored visa is that it is not dependent on one employer, albeit applicants must be under 45 years of age and secure employment.
Changes In the Visa Requirements For NSW
Most recently, NSW has also changed the requirements for its visa applicants.
A notice on the NSW Government website states,
Previously published points scores and work experience guides for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) have been removed due to increased availability of the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) by the Department of Home Affairs.
These changes in the NSW government’s visa requirements will bring in many Australian visa opportunities compared to the previous two fiscal years when COVID-19 closed Australia’s borders. Mr. Rivzi predicted that a significantly higher number of individuals would be awarded Skilled Independent visas (subclass 189) this fiscal year.
4. Making meeting families easier
By implementing demand-driven partner visas in 2022–2023, the Albanese government has made reuniting simpler for families and provided great Australian visa opportunities.
Therefore, there is no cap on the total number of these visas that can be given. This fiscal year, the government expects to provide about 40,500 partner visas.
Demand also determines the number of child visas given, which is projected to be about 3,000. These positive Australian visa opportunities will surely bring many favorable outcomes for the future of Australian immigration.
5. Visa processing changes
Initially, the government used the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List to rank applications for skilled visas. But now, the government has ceased utilizing the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to rank applications. As a result, the skilled visa applications for teachers and healthcare professionals are now being evaluated in just three days.
On October 28, 2022, Ministerial Direction No. 100 was released, setting new guidelines for application prioritization. Now, decisions on applications are made in the following priority order:
- Job applications in healthcare or education
- Employer-sponsored visa candidates recommended by an approved sponsor
- Applications intended for a specific regional area
- Applications for both permanent and provisional visas, excluding visa 188
- Requests for any additional visas.
Applicants residing outside Australia are now given priority for provisional and permanent skilled visa applications within each category.
These new adjustments, according to the Department of Home Affairs, will speed up application processing and it also provides one of the major Australian visa opportunities for offshore applicants.
A department spokesperson said,
Particularly for the critical Temporary Skill Shortage visa, which is designed to respond rapidly to labor market needs.
Review of migration system to be delivered in 2023
The extensive backlogs and complexity of Australia’s immigration system, which have caused some applicants to wait months for visa approval, have drawn criticism from experts and users.
Three experts are tasked with thoroughly analyzing Australia’s immigration system in 2023; an interim report is due by the end of February, and the final strategy is expected in late March or early April.
The government has added personnel to assist with visa processing, reducing Australia’s backlog of visa requests, which was once close to one million, to 600,000.
Words of Andrew Giles
On Monday, Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, said,
By ramping up processing in the Department of Home Affairs and hiring over 400 extra staff, I’m proud to say that we have now processed over four million visas since coming to government.
He further said,
This has made a huge difference to the lives of Australians re-connected with loved ones before Christmas, and to addressing the skills shortages that have affected all of us.
Concerns For 2023
Despite all these positive Australian visa opportunities in 2023, there are some concerns. A likely slowdown in employment growth and an increase in unemployment, as predicted by Treasury, are Mr. Rizvi’s top concerns for 2023. The unemployment rate is now 3.5% as of November 2022 but is predicted to increase to 4.5% in 2023–24 and 2024–25.
Mr. Rizvi said,
The question I have is will the government maintain the migration program at the current level if Treasury’s forecasts are to be believed?
If the government got concerned about the labor market, Mr. Rizvi said, it was feasible to announce a reduction in the number of skilled visas available as part of the May budget.
He further said,
Whenever there’s been a sharp downturn in the Australian economy in the past, governments have always cut the migration program, like clockwork.
According to Mr. Giles, the Australian government will review the migration system to ensure that it keeps up with the changing times.
We need a system that attracts and retains talent, a system that is simple, efficient, and complementary to the skills existing in Australia.
He also said,
International mobility is already important for economic activity. For Australia, this importance will continue to grow over time.
To help Australian businesses through the summer, Mr. Giles also made an announcement this week allowing backpackers to work for a single company for the duration of their visa.
He finally said
Visas for Working Holiday Makers applying outside Australia are being finalized in less than one day.
These were the 5 Australian visa opportunities that all applicants can avail of in 2023. A lot of changes are being made in the immigration system of Australia, including increased nomination places for both skilled and business migration compared to the previous years.
It has been announced that the government will examine the use of skilled migration occupation listings, which some people say are outdated, so there will be even more changes in 2023 and more Australian visa opportunities.
The Migration can provide you with complete guidance and visa services if you wish to migrate to Australia; Book a consultation with our professional consultants. Also, keep browsing our website for more information!
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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.