Federal Budget 2016 – Impact on immigration policies
May 5, 2016

The newly released 2016 Portfolio Budget Papers for the Immigration Department reveal information in relation to 3 following areas :-

  • Border protection – Protect Australia’s sovereignty, security and safety by managing its border, including the stay and departure of all non-citizens.
  • Visas, Migration, Refugee & Humanitarian and Citizenship – Support a prosperous and inclusive society and advance Australia’s economic interests through effective management of the visa and citizenship programs and provisions of refugee and humanitarian assistance.
  • Customs – Advance Australia’s economic interests through the facilitation of trade of goods to and from Australia and collection of border revenue.

The Government aims to achieve efficiencies of $180 million over 3 years by reforming the visa and migration framework, improving automation in visa processing, providing self-service options and using more sophisticated assessment capabilities. Visa application charges will increase revenue by $79.4 million to $2,027.7 million. The introduction of trial tourist visa arrangements in key markets is expected to increase revenue by $1.5 million. This includes user-pays visa fast-track service for nationals from India and UAE and a 3-year multiple entry visa for low risk nationals from India, Thailand, Vietnam and Chile. The measure builds on a 2015-16 MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) measure which included a trial of a user-pays visa fast-track for Chinese nationals.

As of 1 July 2017, New Zealand citizens will be eligible to apply for Australian permanent   residency if they were a resident in Australia on 19 February 2016 and have lived in Australia for at least 5 years and earned income of at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (currently at $53,000 per annum) at the time of application, over the qualifying period.

The ‘backpacker tax’on Working Holiday visa holders will no longer be exempted from tax. Employers are required to deduct 32.5 cents in every dollar earned by the visa holders.

The government will continue to restrict growth in public service numbers across the range of departments. 7000 bureaucrats left the public service in the 9 months to March 2016. The figures show the average staffing level for the federal ¬bureaucracy in 2015-16 was 167,000; it is tipped to grow by less than 500 in the next year. That is equivalent to 2006-17 levels, with staffing at about 16,000 full-time-equivalent staff below the peak of 182,500 in 2011-12. In the Immigration department, 305 staff members are expected to exit. This could mean longer processing time across all the visa applications in the system.

There may be an increase in the visa application fees which would substantiate to revenue increase. The announcement is expected to be made by the Immigration department before or after June 2016.

In light of the changes which are expected to take place on 1st July this year or if you wish to beat the 1st of July rush and to avoid paying for the higher visa application fees or risk a longer processing timeframe due to shortage of case officers within the Immigration department, just give AMIS a call on 03-90786819 to discuss your intention to apply for a visa or email us at support@thinkvisa.com.au to start your visa application process. Alternatively, visit www.thinkvisa.com.au for more information about us.

AIMS consists of a team of professional migration agents and solicitors who provide excellent assistance to people who intend to migrate to Australia or Australian residents or citizens who wish to bring their family members to visit or live in Australia.

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