Following a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system, the Government’s Migration Strategy was released on 11 December 2023 and outlined a new vision for Australia’s migration program, with a policy roadmap containing 8 key actions and over 25 new policy commitments and areas for future reform. This strategy was delivered after extensive consultation with businesses, unions, and other stakeholders, and more than 450 submissions were received as part of the review.

Australia’s New Migration Strategy

Notable proposed changes to be implemented throughout 2024 include the following:

Subclass 485 Graduate Visas

Shorter post-study work rights which revert back to pre-COVID duration:

  • 2 years for Bachelor Degree
  • 2 years for Masters by coursework
  • 3 years for Masters by research
  • 3 years for PhD

Eligibility for a 1-2 year extension for study in a regional area (depending on location).

Reduced Aged Limit

Age criteria for Subclass 485 will be reduced from 50 to 35.

Higher English Requirement

English requirement will be lifted from IELTS (or equivalent) 6 to 6.5.

Restrictions on student visas post sc485 visa

Subclass500 Student Visas

Increased English language requirement

From current IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6 (4.5 to 5 for courses packaged with English)

NEW Genuine Student Test (GST) to replace the current Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria

Restrict onshore visa hopping

More scrutiny will be placed on students applying for additional student visas in Australia and students will need to demonstrate that any subsequent course is furthering their career or academic aspirations to pass the GTS.

Employer-Sponsored Visas

New Skills in Demand visa with full mobility and pathways to PR

A new 4-year temporary skilled worker visa will be introduced to give workers more opportunity to move employers along with clear pathways to PR.

3 targeted pathways under the Skills in Demand visa

Specialist Skills Pathway: for highly skilled specialists in any occupation except trader workers, machinery operators, drivers and labourer and must earn at least $135,000 and no less than an equivalent Australian worker.

Core Skills Pathway: for applications on a new ‘Core Skills Occupation List’ who will be paid above $70000 per year and can include occupations excluded in the Specialist Skills Pathway.

Essential Skills Pathway: for lower paid workers with essential skills (still in consultation). This pathway will be distinct from the Specialist Skills and Core Skills pathways and will be sector-specific, capped, embedded with stronger regulation and minimum standards, subject to further advice and consultation from key industry stakeholders.

These proposed reforms underpins the government’s resolve to achieve 5 core objects of a sound migration program which include:

The policy roadmap is extensive and will be implemented in a phased approach as per below.

The proposed reforms will have implications for many existing visa holders and many planning for a future in Australia. What is clear in this announcement is Australia’s clear intention to move from a quantity-based migration approach to a ‘quality-based’ approach.

We look forward to bringing you more updates as they are announced and welcome you to contact us the migration agent in Melbourne if you have any questions or concerns regarding the proposed changes.