There has been a 97 per cent drop in the number of invitations issued for permanent residency visa in April, compared to last month.
Only 50 invites for subclass 189 visa were sent out this month by the Department of Home Affairs, compared to 1,750 invitations issued in March 2020.
- 97 per cent drop in the number of invites in April compared to the previous month.
- 50 invites issued for subclass 189 visa
- Government trying to ensure migration does not displace job opportunities for Australians
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) – Family Sponsored stream, too, saw a decrease in the number of invites. Compared to 300 invitations in March, only 50 invites were issued in April.
Department of Home Affairs runs invitation rounds on the 11th day of each month.
While subclass 189 visa is a points-tested visa that allows the visa holder to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia, subclass 491 visa is a provisional visa for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia.
Is this drastic fall due to COVID-19?
New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggest almost 800,000 jobs were lost as Australia ramped up its COVID-19 restrictions.
While restrictions have been lifted on the number of hours international students can work in certain critical sectors, the Government is ensuring migration and visa settings do not displace opportunities for Australians.
“The number of invitations issued each month for points tested visas often varies depending on the number of applications being processed by the Department and planning levels for each visa subclass. There is no set number for each round,” a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs told SBS Hindi.
“So that Australia can deal with the immediate and post-recovery impacts of COVID-19, the Government is closely monitoring migration and visa settings to ensure they are consistent with public health measures, are flexible and do not displace job opportunities for Australians,” the spokesperson added.
‘Disappointing and heartbreaking’ for visa hopefuls
Adelaide-based registered migration agent, Mark Glazbrook says he is not surprised by department’s decision to reduce the number of invites this month in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whilst this certainly is a very disappointing and heartbreaking response for the many people who have invested and spent years of their lives working towards satisfying the eligibility criteria in order to be invited to apply for Australian permanent residency, it is not surprising at all and bears a striking resemblance to the Department and Governments position during the Global Financial Crisis,” he said.
“At times like these it is important that people who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus and due to the economic crisis facing Australia are able to return to work as soon as possible, however, we must not forget and lose sight of the incredibly valuable contribution that migration makes to the Australian economy.”
The migration program for 2019-20 has been capped at 160,000 places.
Of 108,682 places allocated for the skilled stream, only 18,652 places have been allocated to Skilled Independent visas which allow migrants to settle anywhere in Australia.
A major chunk of skilled migrants will have to settle in regional Australia, with 23,000 places allocated for regional visas.
Disclaimer: We’d like to point out that the information contained in this segment is general and is not specific advice. If you would like accurate information relevant to your situation, you should consult a registered migration agent.