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IS AUSTRALIAN MIGRATION NOW IN ‘LOCKDOWN?’

1 Jul 2020

For those of you who are new at trying to understand the Australian migration system, historically, July is a very important month. It is the beginning of the Australian financial year and usually the time that the Australian budget is announced. Besides increases to the visa application charges, this announcement also includes the Australian Government’s annual planning levels for its migration program. This sets the benchmark for the maximum number of visas that can be allocated for each migration category by the Department of Immigration and Home Affairs (DHA) for the coming financial year. In turn, the DHA then allocate quotas for the State/Territory Governments for their skilled State nominated and business visa programs. The States are then able to publish their State migration programs for the rest of the financial year (year). July has also, generally, been the time that the Australian skilled migration lists are updated.

With many prospective migrants eagerly awaiting the July changes, unfortunately, this year we are all going to have to wait a little longer! Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Government has pushed its budget announcement back to early October. Therefore, this July the cascade effect of the budget announcement has not happened. With the budget delayed, the migration planning level announcements will be too.

For this reason, most of the Australian States and Territories are unable to publish their State/Territory Migration plans, until their allocations have been confirmed by the DHA, and the State nomination system is now, effectively, in a ‘lockdown’ of its own. With all the States/Territories (States) effectively closed (for offshore applicants), or having not yet published this, we will have to wait and see how policy matters being debated by the Government will unfold. Some States, such as South Australia and ACT have suggested that their programs might open in early August. It remains to be seen if temporary interim allocations will be issued to the States to allow them to reboot their State Migration plans ahead of the budget announcement in August, or if this refresh will occur after the October announcement. We are ever hopeful that interim measures will be put in place, but at this stage, only time will tell.

Where does this leave you?

Together with the ‘lockdown,’ that we have outlined regarding the States, the DHA is also likely to be very slow and cautious regarding visa grants, between now and the budget announcement. However, although the wheels of the Australian Migration system are currently turning very slowly, it is our experience that visa applications are still being accepted. If you are in a position to do so, now is a great time to lodge your visa application and get in the processing queues (particularly, for partner and parent visa applicants), as things should pick up again once the allocations are announced.

For skilled migrants, who are already in the expression of interest phase, and looking for State/Territory opportunities, our advice is to be patient. Don’t panic, you are in a great position for when the system reboots.

For intending applicants who are earlier on in the skilled migration process, you will be glad to know that Expressions of Interest are still open for submission. Most Skills Assessment authorities are still open for business and now is a great time to jump in and obtain your skills assessments. It is also a good time to try get more points for English language under your belt by trying to write one of the approved English language tests. This is a great opportunity for serious applicants to get ahead and get into the expression of interest queue. You’ve got to be in it, to win it.

That said, please be aware of the recommendation (linked blow) by the Department of Employment to the DHA regarding of occupation list changes before jumping into the process. We strongly suggest taking professional advice from a Registered Migration Agent before taking any further steps, if you have any questions or concerns.

In recent times, the situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented, and we would ask everyone to be patient with the Australian Commonwealth Government. Despite pressure to ensure that priority is given to Australians to get back into jobs, which the delayed budget will help achieve; Covid-19 will pass, travel bans will be lifted, and the Australian migration system will bounce back.

For and questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01483550914 or email us to info@immigration2oz.com . Alternatively, you can book a call back by simply clicking here to book a convenient time, and we will call you. 

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To view the recommended occupation list changes:

https://docs.employment.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/smol_traffic_light_bulletin_december_2019_0.pdf

For more information about the Covid-19 affect on the Australian Migration System & temporary travel restrictions:

https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au