2019 Federal Budget Announcements

The 2019 Federal Budget contains the following announcements and information related to the Department of Home Affairs and the migration program.

VACs to increase

  1. Base VACs for visa subclasses, except the Visitor Subclass 600, will increase by 5.4% from 1 July 2019
  2. No increase to second instalment VACs
  3. Expected to increase revenue by $275 million from 2018/19 to 2021/22

VAC exmptions – INAS Games and T20 World Cup

  1. Subclass 408 VACs waived for athletes and officials for the 2019 INAS Global Games in Brisbane
  2. VACs waived for competitors and officials for the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup 2020

Skilling Australians Fund – lower revenue than forecast

The Skilling Australians Fund levy is forecast to collect $126 million less in the four years to 2022-23, than previously forecasted. This reflects lower-than-expected demand for employer nominated visas

Migration Program Planning level

The migration planning level has been reduced to 160,000 for the next four years

* Further details on the migration planning levels are provided in the article below

Skilled Migration Points Test – Secondary Skilled Migrants

  1. From November 2019, points test will be adjusted to award additional points, to the primary applicants, where their partner has competent English, but cannot meet the requirements for skilled partner points
  2. Single applicants will also be awarded additional points to ensure they are not disadvantaged – how this will occur has not been detailed

New Regional Visas – RSMS (Subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (Subclass 489) to go

  1. The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas will be introduced from 1 November 2019
  2. The RSMS (Subclass 187) and Skilled Regional (Subclass 489) will be discontinued
  3. ‘Enhanced’ compliance activities will also be implemented for these visas

* Further details on these new regional visas is provided in the article below

Extension of Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa for regional graduates

An additional 12 month second post-study work visa for international graduates providing a total of three years.

* Further details on these new regional visas is provided in the article below

Destination Australia Program – Regional study for international students

Scholarships for international and domestic students to study in regional Australia for higher education or vocational education qualifications

Trades Recognition Australia – Full cost recovery

Fees for skills assessments related to migration, employment and licensing will be collected by TRA and be fully recovered.

Work and Holiday Visa Cap increased – Indonesia

Annual cap for WHV (Subclass 462) for Indonesian citizens will be increased from 2,500 to 5,000 over the six years to 2014/25

Better Targeting of Support for Refugees

  1. Newly arrived refugees only required to enter into Jobactive services after receiving income support for 12 months, an increase of 6 months from the previous requirement
  2. Designed to assist refugees to focus on settlement and language assistance during that 12 month period
  3. Full Jobactive access will be provided to refugees who seek to use its services on a voluntary basis anytime from arrival, provided they are eligible for Jobactive.

Regional Processing Arrangements – Christmas Island

  1. $178.9 million allocated to transfer IMAs from Nauru and PNG to Christmas Island for medical treatment
  2. Any IMAs on Christmas Island will be returned to Nauru and PNG and the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre will be closed by 1 July 2019


Regional Processing Arrangements – Independent Health Advice Panel (IHAP)

$8 million funding allocated to the IHAP for monitor, assess and report on the physical and mental health of transitory person in regional processing countries and the standards of health services being provided to them

Better Distribution of Medical Practitioners

Extends 2018-19 Visas for General Practitioners – targeting areas of doctor shortage to reduce the planning target by a further 155 overseas trained doctors


The full set of the 2019 Budget documents can be accessed here

Migration Program Planning Levels 2019 /20

The Migration Program Planning levels were released last week for the 2019-2020 program year.

The Migration Program outcomes for 2017-18 are provided as a comparison.

*Figures for the 2018-19 Program year do not appear to be available at this time.

Stream 2019-20 *2017-18
Employer Sponsored 30,000 35,528
Skilled Independent 18,652 39,137
State / Territory Nominated 24,968 27,400
Skilled Regional n/a 1,574
Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional) new 9,000 n/a
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) new 14,000 n/a
Business Innovation and Investment program 6,862 7,260
Global Talent 5,000 n/a
Distinguished Talent 200 200
Skilled total  108,682 111,099
Partner 39,799 39,799
Parent 7,371 7,371
Other Family 562 562
Special eligibility 236 236
Child 3,350 3,350
Program total 160,000 162,417

* Actual outcomes of 2017-18 migration outcome

Further information is available on the Home Affairs website

New Regional Visa Subclasses

Four new regional visa subclasses were announced in the lead up to the Budget.

  1. Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional) – available from 1 November 2019
  2. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) – available from 1 November 2019
  3. Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa –   available November 2022
  4. Temporary Graduate visa – available 2021

These visa subclasses were announced in media releases prior to the NSW State elections and no regulations or policy has been forthcoming to date.  The following details are all that have been released to date:

Skilled Employer Sponsored (Provisional)

  1. 9000 places have been allocated
  2. ‘almost’ 700 eligible occupations, which is 450 more occupations than non regional areas

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 

  1. 14,000 places
  2. ‘over’ 500 eligible occupations, which is 70 more occupations than non regional areas

Features of these two new provisional subclasses

  1. both commence 1 November 2019
  2. priority processing
  3. access to additional skilled occupations
  4. five year validity
  5. three years living and working in regional area to be eligible for PR

*applications lodged prior to the commencement date will continue to be processed as usual

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa

  1. commences November 2022
  2. three years living and working in a regional area
  3. must have held either a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) or Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

Temporary Graduate visa – regional 

  1. commences 2021
  2. one extra year – second Temp Graduate visa
  3. maintain ongoing residence in regional area for first Temporary Graduate visa
  4. must have graduates after studying at regional campus
  5. must have graduated with a higher education or post graduate qualification


For further information, please contact us at advice@perdaman-gs.com.au