The Migration Program for the 2019-20 has a reduced total number of visa places compared to the previous year with a reduction in the yearly Permanent Residence visa ceiling to 160,000 (from 190,00). Below is an analysis of how the visa ceilings (i.e. the maximum number of visas that can be issued in that category) have changed across the different visa categories.
In previous years the limit placed on permanent residence visas was been 190,000 (and between 2013-2017 the number of visas granted approached that figure). However, in the 2017-18 year only 162,417 visas were granted.
Within the skilled visas the 2019-20 Migration Plan a shift in emphasis has been made to the availability of the different visas. With a significant increase in the availability of visas that require the holders to live and work within the Regional areas of Australia. This includes two new Provisional Skilled Regional visas introduced in November 2019 which can potentially provide a pathway to Permanent Residence:
The new subclass 491and 494 visas will be valid for up to five years. Visa holders will need to live and work/study in 'regional' Australia, enhanced compliance measures are to be attached to these visa. Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa assuming they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for permanent residence, holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of the new Skilled Regional Provisional visa for the required period.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 visa : for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia. It has been suggested that there will be over 500 occupations available on this new visa
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) 494 visa : for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia. It has been suggested that almost 700 occupations will be available on this new visa
- Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) 191 Visa: holders of the above two provisional visa holders, assuming they meet the eligibility requirements, will be able to apply for this Permanent Residence visa which will commence in November 2022.
The table below provides a comparison to permanent residence ceilings in previous years as well as showing the shift towards State and Territory and Regional visa availability (Since this table was published in November 2019 the government announced a further 2000 places would be removed from the 189 visa and allocated to the 491 and 494 visas).
As can be seen in the table the 30,000 reduction in potential places has reduced the skilled visa options by 20,000 places and the family options by 10,000.
Assuming that this Migration Plan is enacted:
- Within the Skilled visas we can expect to see increased competition for the Skilled Independent 189 visas. Most likely an increase in the number of points required and potentially longer waiting periods.
- Overall the States, Territories and Regional visas will have a larger quota of places (towards the SC190, SC489 and new regional visa options).
- Within the Family stream there has been a reduction in the number of places for both Partner visas and Parent visas, therefore we might expect to see increases in processing times for these visas also.