Immigration weekly update: June 06, 2024

Immigration news update for the APAC region


Australia: Migration policy changes

The Australian government has announced migration policy changes and their implications for the upcoming year.

Permanent Migration Program: The Australian Government has set the 2024–25 permanent Migration Program at 185,000 places, with a focus on Skill Stream. The program has a 70:30 split between Skill and Family streams, with increased planning levels for Employer-Sponsored, State/Territory Nominated, and Regional categories.

Migration System Reforms: The Australian government plans to allocate $18.3 million over four years to reform the migration system, aiming to enhance economic prosperity and restore integrity. An investment of $15.0 million over three years will fund activities to educate migrant workers about workplace rights and compliance with migration laws. A pilot program with a budget of $1.9 million for 2024-25 will cross-reference income and employment data to protect migrant workers and ensure a fair migration system.

Work and Holiday visa – China, Vietnam, and India: A visa pre-application (ballot) process will be introduced for the Work and Holiday visa program for China, Vietnam, and India from 2024 to manage program demand and processing times. The ballot is an electronic random selection to invite selected entrants to apply for a first Work and Holiday visa online, aiming for an equitable and transparent selection.

Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES): The Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES) program will be implemented for Indian nationals, providing a mobility pathway for 3,000 graduates and early career professionals to live and work in Australia for up to two years.

Extending the validity of the Business Visitor visa for Indian nationals: The validity of the Business Visitor visa for Indian nationals will be extended from up to three years to up to five years.

National Innovation visa, replacing the current Global Talent visa: A new National Innovation visa will replace the current Global Talent Visa and Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program (BIIP) in late 2024.

Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program (BIIP): As BIIP will cease, refunds will be provided for those who wish to withdraw their application.

Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa – work experience reduced: The work experience requirement will be reduced from two years to one year of full-time work, effective from 23 November 2024. Applicants must still meet the necessary skills, qualifications, and employment background for their nominated occupation. The change will help newer professionals in industries with acute skills shortages to qualify for the subclass 482 visa. The reduction in work experience requirement must be passed in legislation, more details on this change we will advise.

2024-2025 Permanent visa allocations: The allocation for permanent visa places is detailed below.

Visa Stream Visa Category 2023–24 Planning levels 2024–25 Planning levels
Skill Employer Sponsored 36,825 44,000
Skilled Independent 30,375 16,900
Regional 32,300 33,000
State/Territory Nominated 30,400 33,000
Business Innovation & Investment 1,900 1,000
Global Talent (Independent) 5,000 4,000
Distinguished Talent 300 300
Skill Total 137,100 132,200

VETASSESS and NSDC India join in Workforce Mobility Plan: VETASSESS and NSDC are collaborating to facilitate the migration of skilled Indian workers to Australia to address labor shortages. The focus is on industries with a chronic shortage of qualified workers, with an emphasis on institutional strengthening and smoother migration pathways.

VETASSESS will assess and certify skills in India, providing gap training in partnership with Australian and Indian institutions. The partnership will compare qualifications between the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and the Indian National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) to ensure workers meet Australian standards. This initiative aims to bring together employers, trainers, and governments to create a streamlined process for employing skilled Indian workers in critical sectors in Australia.

This summary was prepared using information from the Australian Government

Increase to Temporary Skills Minimum Income Threshold (TSMIT)

The Australian government has announced an increase in the Temporary Skills Minimum Income Threshold (TSMIT) from $70,000 to $73,150, effective from July 01, 2024. New nomination applications from July 01, 2024, must meet the new TSMIT, and applications cannot be lodged for positions with a market salary lower than the TSMIT.

Existing visa holders and nominations lodged before July 01, 2024, will not be affected by the increase. Any incoming applications meeting the current $70,000 TSMIT will be aimed to be lodged before July 01.

This summary was prepared using information from the Australian Government

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini (Global Director of Immigration) and Debra Beynon (Regional Immigration Manager, APAC).

Philippines: Changes to Visa Application Process

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has implemented the Memorandum Circular 2024-002 establishing a Visa Processing Center (VPC), a division within BI, under the control and supervision of the Board of Commissioners (BOC).  The change aims to improve the efficiency, probity, and quality of the evaluation process and assessment of qualifications of the petitioners and applicants.

The VPC shall have the authority to accept, process and evaluate applications, and recommend appropriate action to the BOC for visa conversion, extension, amendment, and inclusion of dependents relating to immigrant, non-immigrant and special non-immigrant visas.

VPC Structure:

  1. Administrative Officer who shall act as the administrative head of the VPC.
  2. Visa Processing Officer (VPO) who shall process, evaluate and draft Order for approval or disapproval of the visa application.
  3. Technical and Administrative Staffs who shall assist the Administrative Officer and VPOs.

New Visa Application Process:

  1. No pre-evaluation shall be conducted on any visa applications and shall be received by the concerned BI office on an “as is-where is” basis. It is the responsibility of the petitioner or applicant to ensure visa application folders are in order and complete as well as the authenticity of all its supporting documents and signatures.
  2. The visa application folders shall be submitted to the Assessor for the derogatory check and assessment of application fees. The Assessor will issue an Order of Payment Slip (OPS) and BI Clearance Certificate (BICC).

(Note: In the event the application has a derogatory record, the Assessor shall not return the visa application until the derogatory record is settled and cleared.)

  1. Together with the OPS and BICC, the application folder must be submitted to the Cashier / Collecting Officer along with the payment.
  2. The visa application folder will be transmitted to VPC for evaluation and recommendation for approval or disapproval of such application.

(Note: For applications filed in sub-port offices in different locations, the visa application folder will be transmitted to the VPC in the BI Main Office.)

  1. The VPC will then forward visa application to BOC-Agenda and Records Management Unit (BOC-ARMU) for the inclusion in the agenda of the next BOC meeting.
  2. Once the visa is approved, the BOC-Implementation Unit (BOC-IU) shall implement the approved visa on the passport.
  3. After implementation, the Alien Registration Division (ARD) shall release the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-card), if applicable.
  4. All officers and personnel of VPC are strictly instructed to observe a “No Contact Policy” with the petitioners, applicants, or authorized representatives.

In addition, the receipt of the filing fees for Motion for Reconsideration (MR) in relation to denied visa applications are suspended per the memorandum from the Commissioner. The suspension will remain in effect until the finalization of the new guidelines governing the processing of such motions, or until further notice to the contrary.

This summary was prepared using information from the Immigration memorandum circular 2024-002

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini (Global Director of Immigration) and Debra Jane Beynon (Regional Manager, APAC).

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