Australia’s Game-Changing Immigration Updates | Australia’s 2024 Visa Changes

Australia is set to introduce significant immigration reforms starting July 1, 2024, which will include raising the minimum income threshold for skilled migrants, offering more adaptable visa terms for skilled workers, and creating new visa pathways specifically tailored for citizens of the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

Beginning July 1, 2024, Australia will enact substantial modifications to its immigration policies, bringing about notable adjustments across multiple visa programs and their respective criteria. Here are the primary updates:

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) Increase:

Individuals holding Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482), Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457), and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visas will now have the flexibility to seek a new sponsor, apply for an alternative visa, or plan their exit from Australia for up to 180 days at a stretch or a total maximum of 365 days. Throughout this period, they are permitted to work in any occupation for different employers to sustain themselves.

New Exemptions for UK Citizens on Working Holiday Visas:

UK citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 are now eligible to apply for Working Holiday Visas for Australia without the obligation to fulfill the ‘specified work’ requirement. This adjustment aims to encourage more young UK nationals to engage in cultural exchange and explore work opportunities in Australia.

Philippines Passport Holders Eligible for Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) Visa:

Filipino citizens aged 18 to 30 are now eligible to apply for the Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa, which permits them to live, work, and travel in Australia for a period of up to 12 months. To qualify, applicants must hold a tertiary qualification or have completed a minimum of two years of undergraduate or post-secondary education.

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) Replaced:

The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) is currently closed and will be succeeded by the National Innovation Visa. This new visa initiative is designed to stimulate innovation and appeal to top-tier entrepreneurs and investors, featuring a simplified application process and enhanced assistance for business initiatives.

Impacts of the 2024-25 Budget on Immigration:

Australia’s Permanent Migration Programme has a cap of 185,000 places, with 132,200 spots designated for the Skill stream. This allocation underscores the government’s emphasis on addressing the country’s enduring requirements for skilled workers over the long term.

Visa Hopping Restrictions:

Temporary visa holders in Australia, such as those on Temporary Graduate, Visitor, and Maritime Crew visas, will encounter limitations on applying for student visas while within the country, aimed at curbing the practice known as ‘visa hopping.’ Genuine students are required to apply for student visas from outside Australia. Additionally, holders of Temporary Graduate Visas are encouraged to pursue opportunities in skilled employment or explore alternative visa options.

Updates to the Temporary Graduate Visa Program:

Changes have been introduced to the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) program, including an age limit of 35 years for most applicants, with exceptions for certain passport holders who can apply up to the age of 50. The program has also revamped the names of its streams and eliminated the Replacement Stream.

Closure of Skilled-Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) Visa:

The Skilled-Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa, which was previously accessible to engineering graduates from designated institutions, has now been permanently discontinued and is no longer available for application.

Support for Partner Visa Applicants in Family Violence Cases:

Recent regulations have been enacted to assist partner visa applicants who are victims of family violence. These changes broaden the criteria for obtaining permanent residency and establish a more straightforward process for affected applicants to navigate towards their residency goals.

Migration Amendment Strengthening Employer Compliance:

The updated regulations bring in more rigorous measures for employers to comply with, including higher penalties for violations of civil penalties and new provisions aimed at addressing employer misconduct.

Increase in Student Visa Fees for International Students:

Starting July 2024, the Australian Government will implement a substantial hike in student visa fees for international students. The cost of applying for a student visa will increase significantly, more than doubling from AUD 630 to AUD 1,600.

This fee increase is one component of a larger strategy aimed at regulating the number of international students entering Australia and maintaining the financial stability of the country’s education sector. It is anticipated that this adjustment will influence the choices of future students and the dynamics of the international student sector within Australia.