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Existing migration program settings will continue to remain in place, says the government

Major weaknesses found in Australia's visa compliance program, through a government audit Source: Supplied

The Department of Home Affairs organised new financial year’s first round of invitations, with some applicants invited to apply for subclass 189 visa.

Melbourne-based Migration agent from Migration and Education Experts Chaman Preet says it is a piece of good news.

“Yes, it is good news. An invitation round was held on 14 July for Subclass 189 and 491 Family Sponsored visa,” she said.


Highlights:

  • The Department of Home Affairs held the first invitation round of financial year 2020-21 on 14 July
  • The Department has advised migration agents that the existing 2019-20 migration program settings will continue to remain in place
  • Most states had stopped accepting applications for state nomination for subclass 491 and 190 visas in June, triggering concerns that the immigration program was being put on hold

With COVID-19 disrupting immigration to Australia, many potential applicants and migration professionals had been concerned that Australia’s general skilled migration program has closed temporarily.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, global waiting times for offshore partner visa to be processed has risen to almost two years.
Getty Images

Chaman Preet says the invitation round on 14 July, which is this financial year’s first invitation round, indicates that the regular monthly process continues.

GNT Migration’s Tanvi Dutt says applicants from the social and non-social both the sectors have received the invitations.

“The invitations have been issued mainly in the engineering professions and the good thing is that the point score has slipped a little. Earlier it used to be 95 but this month even those with 90 points have received an invitation,” explains Ms Dutt.

Most states had stopped accepting applications for state nomination for subclass 491 and 190 visas in June in the absence of any announcement by the Department of Home Affairs about the 2020-21 migration program or the Skilled Occupation List.

However, the Department of Home Affairs has now advised migration agents that the existing 2019-20 migration program settings will continue to remain in place.

“We have received an email from the Department of Home Affairs. They say the existing 2019-20 migration program settings will continue to remain in place. This means the 2020-21 planning ceiling will be retained at 160,000 places, the level set for the 2019-20 Migration Program, until further notice,” says Ms Dutt.

Australian Visa , disability,
Getty Images

Out of the 160,000 places in 2019-20, a total of 108,682 places are reserved for the skill stream; 47,732 places for the Family stream; 236 places for the Special Eligibility stream and 3,350 places for Child visas.

According to the Department of Home Affairs' advice, the composition and size of the migration program will remain unchanged for now.

Chaman Preet opines that the direction of the Australian migration program will be decided according to the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Department wants to devise a new program, keeping in mind the fact that the Australian economy is migration oriented. However, this new program will depend upon the overall response to the pandemic,” says Ms Preet.

“The ceilings are not changing, but probably the priorities will be reshaped. Even for 189/491 visa subclasses, the invitations will be more focused on skills that Australia needs in the current situation. For instance, applicants with critical skills such as nurses and doctors have priority over others.”

The government has also said that the migration and visa settings are being monitored to ensure they are flexible and do not displace job opportunities for Australians so that Australia can deal with the immediate and post-recovery impacts of COVID-19.


 

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. People are also advised to wear masks in public.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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