Australia’s government has revealed its long-awaited migration strategy.
2024 will see a big change come is to employer-sponsored visas.
The government is introducing a new four-year temporary skilled worker visa which it says will offer workers more opportunity to change their employer and provide pathways to permanent residency.
Once implemented, the “Skills in Demand” visa will replace the current Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482), which permits holders to live in Australia while working full-time for the sponsoring employer.
According to a government timeline of new and existing commitments, this will happen in late 2024.
The visa will be split into three pathways, the first being a specialist skills pathway that expedites applications from highly skilled migrants.
This will be available to those initially earning at least $135,000 in any job excluding trades workers, machinery operators, drivers and labourers.
The government has committed to a median visa processing time of seven days.
The efforts will be to make employer sponsorship more accessible and to provide more options for permanent residency.
The government has promised that processing times “would be attractive to highly skilled workers”.
The government admitted that “In comparison to the rest of the world, we may lose skilled workers just because of how complex and lengthy our employer-sponsored program is.”
The second core skills pathway will be available to most temporary skilled migrants whose job is listed on a new Core Skills Occupation List, based on those identified by Jobs and Skills Australia as being in short supply.
Their earnings will need to be at least the income required for the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT).
Earlier in 2023, the government raised the TSMIT from $53,900 to $70,000.
The government will also move to index this threshold annually by the wage price index.
Consultation on regulating migration for lower-paid workers with essential skills – a third pathway – is expected to begin in the first half of 2024.