According to the federal budget papers, Australia won’t see a significant return of migrants for another year. The cost-cutting exercise is expected to save the Australian government $671.1 million over five years. The money will instead be redirected to “fund policy Priorities”. However, 550 million dollars will go towards attracting highly skilled workers and investors in the next four years. This means a set number of skilled workers visa quotas for Australia has been made available.
What does this mean for skilled workers looking to migrate to Australia?
- The migration program will be the same as last year, with a total of 160,000 places split into 77,300 for family reunions and 79,600 for skilled migrants.
- New migrants granted permanent residency after January 1, 2022, will be forced to wait four years for nearly all social security payments. People newly arrived in Australia will now have to wait four years instead of two before they are eligible for benefits, including parental leave pay, carers payments, and family tax benefits A and B.
- The rate of international arrivals will remain constrained with state and territory quarantine caps in 2021 and the first half of 2022, except passengers from Safe Travel Zones.
- The government predicts “a gradual return of temporary and permanent migrants” from the middle of 2022, with international students expected to return under “small phased programs” in late 2021.
- Australian borders will remain closed well into 2022. Migration numbers are dwindling, but there will likely be a surge from mid-2022.
- Australia wants to lure global business talent from other countries and has made $550 million available to that end.
Australia Wants Skilled Workers & Investors
Australia will seek to “capitalise” on its management of COVID-19 with a half a billion-dollar plan to lure global businesses and talent from other countries.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the package, worth $550 million over four years, as part of the federal budget. The new measures include removing red tape and changing tax rules to encourage the use of employee share schemes, which the government argues are critical for start-ups to attract and retain talented staff.
The Australian Tax Office will also provide a “concierge” service to fast-track tax advice to foreign investors, while individual tax residency rules will be simplified.
“We must seize this opportunity and capitalise on the strength of our health and economic response to this crisis,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Australia wants highly skilled workers and investors, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. The application process is lengthy and challenging to navigate. But if you’re a skilled worker and meet the requirements, you’d do well to start the process as soon as possible. In the end, you need to think about where you will be and not where you are now.