Immigrants from many countries are responsible for much progress that has been made by their contribution to the growth of Australia’s economy and culture. Due to COVID-19, in the year 2020, various travel restrictions were imposed that delayed the entry of much-skilled migration. As a result, immigration and the country’s economy were particularly affected.
According to these immigration statistics, net migration numbers may fall from 154,000 in financial year 2019-20 to a loss of 72,000 in 2021-21, and also a further loss of 21,600 in 2021-22.
Highlights of the Latest Australian Immigration News
The following are a few of the latest updates about Australian immigration
- Vaccination rollout
At the end of February, the COVID-19 vaccination rollout began in Australia, and it is now happening in stages. The first group of people were:
- Border officers
- Quarantine hotel workers
- Aged/disability care resident and staff
- Front-line health-care workers
International borders still remain closed but Government plans to vaccinate 80% of the population by October. After that, borders may again open for international business travelers, students, and other overseas workers.
- Family visas to be granted onshore
The Australian Home Affairs Department has also announced some family visas, which were applied for going out of Australia that will be approved to all applicants while they will remain onshore by not leaving the country.
Previously, it was not possible and has been now implemented to help people who cannot depart Australia because of the current pandemic situation. Those who have made an application for the following visa can now get them.
- Contributory Parent Visas
- Partner Visas
- Child Visas out of Australia
- Updates on states and territories
Many territories and states have updated their requirements for nomination for State/Territory and also occupation lists during the month of January and February.
The main focus of states and territories now is on the recovery of the economy and health because of this pandemic. All territories and states are now accepting applications for visas.
- NSW has opened for business investment applications
For the business investment Visa, New South Wales has now opened for nomination applications. The state is now seeking business owners with capital and assets to establish, buy, develop, or manage any new/existing business in this state.
This program is applicable also for people who are outside of Australia.
Refunds and Extensions For COVID-19
The Australian government has announced that refunds for Visa Application Charge for those visa holders who could not visit Australia due to the pandemic, including:
- Visitor visa holders
- Temporary skilled workers
- Prospective marriage visa holders
- Visa holders of the Seasonal Worker program
- Visa holders for Pacific Labour Scheme
Also, the government has announced that an application fees waiver that will be applicable for those applicants who had paid fees for visas and could not travel to Australia as the border was closed. They include:
- Visitor visas
- Working Holiday visas
- Re-application for temporary skilled workers
Since the whole world is under the grip of COVID-19, these immigration announcements will serve as a very good indication about which routes will get more priority in the near future.
To facilitate the planned Migration Program, Australia’s federal government sets a target for the number of people allowed to migrate permanently. Generally, there are three different grouping for immigrants. The main grouping, known as the “skill stream,” allocated places for people with the skills Australia needs for the future. The family stream allows the immigration of people with family ties in the country. There are also a relatively small number of places known as “special eligibility places.”
Australia’s Migration Program commenced in 1945 with creation of the first federal immigration portfolio. Immigration policies have evolved over that time as the federal government’s goals changed. The initial focus was on attracting migrants, primarily from the UK, with the stated goal of increasing Australia’s population. Later, the focus changed to improve the economy, by attracting workers and temporary skilled labour.