Explore Different Immigration Pathways to Australia in 2023
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Explore Different Immigration Pathways to Australia in 2023

Australia is a popular destination for migrants who want to live and work in a diverse and multicultural country. Australia offers various immigration pathways for skilled workers, family members, students, refugees, and others who want to make Australia their home. Let’s explore some of the different immigration pathways to Australia in 2023 and how they have changed from previous years.

Immigration Pathways to Australia

Skilled Migration

Skilled migration is one of the main categories of Australia’s permanent migration program, which has a planning level of 190,000 places for 2023-24. Skilled migrants are selected based on their qualifications, work experience, English language ability, and other factors contributing to Australia’s economy and society.

There are several visa subclasses under the skilled migration category, such as:

  • Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa: This visa allows skilled workers not sponsored by an employer, a state or territory, or a family member to live and work permanently in Australia. Applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list and meet the points test. There are two streams under this visa: the Points-tested and New Zealand streams.
  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa: This visa allows skilled workers nominated by a state or territory government to live and work permanently in Australia. Applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list and meet the points test.
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa: This visa allows skilled workers nominated by a state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative to live and work in regional Australia for up to five years. Applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list and meet the points test. After three years of living and working in regional Australia, this visa can lead to permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (subclass 191) visa.
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visa: This visa allows skilled workers sponsored by an eligible employer in regional Australia to live and work in regional Australia for up to five years. Applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list and meet the skills assessment and English language requirements. After three years of living and working in regional Australia, this visa can lead to permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (subclass 191) visa.

Some of the changes to the skilled migration visas in 2023 include the following:

  • Introducing a new¬†Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)¬†identifies occupations critical for Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants with work on the PMSOL will receive priority processing for their visa applications.
  • The removal of age restrictions for Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa holders who want to apply for permanent residency through the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visa or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa.
  • They are expanding eligibility for Working Holiday Maker (WHM) (subclass 417 and 462) visas to include more countries and regions, such as India, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam. WHM visa holders can work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months and extend their stay for another year if they complete specified work in regional areas.

Family Migration

Family migration is another category of Australia’s permanent migration program, with a planning level of 47,600 places for 2023-24. Family migrants are sponsored by their eligible relatives, Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens.

There are several visa subclasses under the family immigration pathways to Australia, such as:

  • Partner (subclass 820 and 801) visa: This visa allows the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia temporarily and then permanently. Applicants must prove their genuine and ongoing relationship with their sponsor and meet the health and character requirements.
  • Parent (subclass 103 and 143) visa: This visa allows the parent of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must be sponsored by their child who is settled in Australia and meets the balance of family test, meaning that at least half of their children live in Australia or more of their children live in Australia than in any other country. There are two types of parent visas: the non-contributory parent visa, which has a lower visa application charge but a longer processing time, and the contributory parent visa, which has a higher visa application charge but a shorter processing time.
  • Child (subclass 101 and 802) visa: This visa allows the child or step-child of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must be sponsored by their parents and be under 25 years of age (unless they have a disability that prevents them from working). There are two types of child visas: the offshore child visa, which is applied for outside Australia, and the onshore child visa, which is applied for in Australia.
  • Other family visas: These visas allow other relatives of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens to live in Australia permanently. These include the remaining relative visa, which is for people who have no other relatives outside Australia; the carer visa, which is for people who want to care for a relative who has a long-term medical condition; and the aged dependent relative visa, which is for people who rely on a relative in Australia for financial support.

Some of the changes to the family migration visas in 2023 include the following:

  • The introduction of priority processing for partner visa applications where there are family violence or child welfare concerns. The department will also implement measures to prevent and respond to family violence in the partner visa program, such as providing information and support to applicants and sponsors, strengthening character checks, and enhancing compliance activities.
  • The cost recovery fee for parent visa applications increased from $10,000 to $15,000 per applicant. This fee is payable in addition to the visa application charge and covers the health and welfare costs of parent migrants over their lifetime.
  • The family stream planning level was maintained at 47,600 places, with 39,800 areas allocated for partner visas and 7,800 places allocated for parent visas. The government has also committed to clearing the partner visa application backlog by 2024.

Student Migration

Student migration is not part of Australia’s permanent migration program, but it is an essential source of temporary migrants contributing to Australia’s education sector and economy. Student migrants can also apply for permanent residency through other pathways after completing their studies in Australia.

There are several visa subclasses under the student immigration pathways to Australia such as:

  • Student (subclass 500) visa: This visa allows students to study full-time in a registered course at an Australian educational institution. Applicants must have a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from their education provider and meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement, which means they genuinely intend to stay in Australia temporarily for study purposes. Applicants must also meet the English language, financial, health, and character requirements.
  • Student Guardian (subclass 590) visa: This visa allows parents or relatives to accompany and provide care for students under 18 years of age studying in Australia on a student visa. Applicants must have enough funds to support themselves and the student, have adequate health insurance, and meet the health and character requirements.
  • Training (subclass 407) visa: This visa allows people to participate in workplace-based training or professional development activities in Australia. An approved temporary activities sponsor must sponsor applicants and have an approved nomination for an occupational training program. Applicants must also meet the English language, financial, health, and character requirements.
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa: This visa allows students who have completed a qualification in Australia to stay and work in Australia after their studies temporarily. Applicants must have held a student visa in the last six months and have a qualification related to an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list. There are two streams under this visa: the Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream.

Some of the changes to the student migration visas in 2023 include the following:

  • The relaxation of student visa work restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic until 31 December 2023. This means that student visa holders can work more than 40 hours per fortnight if employed in critical sectors such as health care, aged care, disability care, and agriculture.
  • The extension of stay periods for some holders of subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visas. This means that bachelor’s degree graduates can stay for four years (up from two years), master’s degree graduates can last for five years (up from three years), and doctoral graduates can last for six years.

Refugee and Humanitarian Migration

Refugee and humanitarian migration is not part of Australia’s permanent migration program. Still, it is a separate program that reflects Australia’s commitment to providing protection and resettlement to refugees and other vulnerable people who are subject to persecution or serious human rights violations in their home country.

There are several visa subclasses under the refugee and humanitarian immigration pathways to Australia, such as:

  • Refugee (subclass 200) visa: This visa allows people recognized as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and referred to Australia for resettlement to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must meet the refugee definition under the 1951 Refugee Convention and have compelling reasons for resettlement in Australia.
  • In-country Special Humanitarian (subclass 201) visa: This visa allows people who are subject to persecution or substantial discrimination in their home country and have not been able to leave to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must be proposed by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organization operating in Australia and have compelling reasons for resettlement in Australia.
  • Emergency Rescue (subclass 203) visa: This visa allowed people in immediate danger of persecution or serious human rights violations in their home country and referred to Australia by the UNHCR to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must meet the refugee definition under the 1951 Refugee Convention and have urgent resettlement needs.
  • The Woman at Risk (subclass 204) visa: This visa allows women who are subject to persecution or serious human rights violations in their home country, do not have the protection of a partner or a relative, and are in danger of victimization to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must be recognized as refugees by the UNHCR and referred to Australia for resettlement.
  • Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa: This visa allows people subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country and has a proposer in Australia to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must be outside their home country, be proposed by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organization operating in Australia, and have a link with Australia.
  • Protection (subclass 866) visa: This visa allows people already in Australia to engage in Australia’s protection obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to live in Australia permanently. Applicants must meet the refugee definition or the complementary protection criteria and satisfy the health, character, and national security requirements.

Some of the changes to the refugee and humanitarian immigration pathways to Australia in 2023 include the following:

  • The humanitarian program planning level increased from 18,750 places in 2022-23 to 20,000 places in 2023-24. The program consists of two components: the offshore component, which provides resettlement opportunities for refugees and other vulnerable people overseas, and the onshore component, which provides protection visas for people who seek asylum in Australia.
  • The announcement is that more than 19,000 refugees on temporary protection visas (TPVs) or haven enterprise visas (SHEVs) can apply for permanent residency in Australia from July 2023. This will end the uncertainty and hardship these refugees have lived in Australia for many years without a durable solution.
  • Introducing a new Community Support Program (CSP) will allow community organizations, businesses, and individuals to sponsor refugees and other humanitarian entrants for resettlement in Australia. The CSP will provide 5,000 places per year within the humanitarian program planning level and complement the Community Proposal Pilot (CPP).

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