The Commonwealth 2017-18 Budget was out a week ago and important initiatives affecting visa applicants were announced:
- Employers who sponsor employees for temporary and permanent visas will need to pay a training levy fee.
- Details on Temporary Parent visas to apply from 1 November 2017
- Visa application fee increases to apply from 1 July 2017
Training Levy for Employers Sponsoring Staff
The Australian Government is establishing a Skilling Australians Fund, prioritised towards apprenticeships and traineeships in occupations in high demand that currently rely on skilled migration, or with future growth potential, including in regional Australia. The new Training levy for employers sponsoring staff will contribute towards this fund. The amount payable will depend on the size of the business, with those with turnover of at least $10 million will pay more. The payments will apply to both the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa and permanent employer sponsored visas (ENS and RSMS).
Temporary Sponsored Parent Visas
The new visas will be introduced in November 2017 and will require sponsorship by the child who is an Australian permanent resident or a citizen. It is quite possible that the parent would not be required to meet the balance of family test, unlike other parent visas.
The visa will be valid for either 3 years, or 5 years. The application fee for the 3-year option will be $5,000 whilst the 5-year option will cost $10,000. It will be possible to renew the visa, but this will need to be done from outside Australia. A stay of up to 10 years will be allowed in total.
Parents on the new visas will not be eligible for Medicare and the sponsoring child will be liable for any medical expenses, including aged care.
15,000 of the new temporary sponsored parent visas will be available each program year, an huge increase from current allocation of 8,675 places for parent visas. The current parent visa categories will remain open to applications. Holders of the new temporary parent visas will not be able to apply onshore for permanent parent visas, but it is possible they might be able to lodge an application offshore. It is not yet clear whether the additional 15,000 places will be considered part of the migration program or not. Overall, the migration program will remain at 190,000 places.
Visa Application Charge increases
Visa Application Fees will be increased on an annual basis in line with inflation. This restores the previous practice which applied prior to 2007. Here is the list for most common Visa types:
|Visa Type||Current Fee||From 1 July 2017|
|General Skilled Migration||$3,600||$3,670|
|Graduate Temporary Subclass 485||$1,470||$1,500|
The Budget has confirmed that employers will have higher transaction costs when sponsoring overseas staff. The training levy will apply from March 2018, and fees for the TSS visa will be about twice the current fees for the 457 program.
The introduction of the new temporary parent visas will mean that children will be able to more easily sponsor their parents to live in Australia. However, the costs will be high and the family will need to meet any health costs the parent incurs whilst in Australia. There is no obvious impact on the current permanent parent visa program, but an announcement is awaited on the number of places allocated for 2017-18.
Increases will apply to visa application charges from 1 July, but these will be around 2% for most applicants.
Other changes which have been announced in the budget include:
- Longer waiting times for migrants to access pensions – in many cases the migrant will need to show that they have lived in Australia for 15 years; and
- Restrictions and higher costs for overseas investors in Australia property