19 May 2021

Federal Budget changes for migrants 2021

Following on from our updates on the Federal Budget and implications for Australia’s international border and the 2021-22 Migration Program, here’s how the Budget impacts specific visa holders and businesses. 

A four-year wait for Permanent Residents to access benefits, such as Paid Parental Leave | What this means for migrants and businesses

Relaxed requirements for Temporary Visa Holders | Support measures for Agricultural, Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

Social Programs for Women and Migrants

A focus on highly skilled overseas talent through the Global Talent Visa

A Four-Year Wait To Access Government Benefits

One of the biggest changes to long-standing policies for migrants was that new Permanent Residents will need to wait longer to access Government benefits – including for Paid Parental Leave.

Currently, Permanent Residents can receive Family Tax Benefit B immediately, Carers Allowance and Family Tax Benefit A after one year and Paid Parental Leave and Carers payments after two years.

From 2022, there will be a four-year wait for PR Visa holders for all of these payments. 

What this means for migrants 

Temporary Visa holders should seek to understand their Permanent Residence (PR) options and apply without delay if eligible. Migrants who become PR Visa holders before the changes take place from 2022 will be exempt. 

In Australia, some visa options allow you to apply for PR directly, while others such as Provisional Visas, require you to live and work in Australia for a period of time before obtaining PR. 

It is unclear if the changes will apply to Provisional Visa holders in the same way as people who obtained PR directly, or whether the period of time spent in Australia on a Provisional Visa will count towards the four-year wait for Government benefits. 

Migrants may need to be prepared to fund themselves for family circumstances that impact their earning capacity. 

What this means for businesses 

PR is a key incentive for attracting and retaining skilled migrants.

It is yet to be seen how an increase in waiting periods for Government payments may impact Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for skilled migration. 

Businesses may wish to review their PR policies for employees on Temporary Visas and explore the practicalities of supporting overseas employees through family circumstances, such as having children. 

Relaxed Visa Rules | Agricultural, Tourism & Hospitality

408 Pandemic Visa Applicants and 500 Student Visa Holders

Applicants for the 408 Pandemic Visa no longer need to demonstrate attempts to depart Australia if they intend to undertake Agricultural work.  

Tourism and Hospitality have been added as critical sectors for the 408 Pandemic Visa as of 14 May 2021.

Student Visa holders can temporarily work more than 40 hours per fortnight if employed in the Tourism or Hospitality sectors.

Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PCL) Visa Holders and Regional Businesses

Continuation of extended visa validity period of 12 months for Pacific workers already in Australia under the SWP and PCL. These arrangements will continue until April 2022. 

Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa Holders

Visa validity period extended to 18 months for individuals who are unable to use their visas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

This is to not disadvantage Parent Visa holders who obtained visas at significant cost but could not then travel to Australia due to the border closure. 

Social Support Programs for Women and Migrants 

Migrant and Refugee Women

Extended funding for Community and Women’s Legal Centres across Australia to provide legal assistance. 

Temporary Visa Holders

A pilot program to support Temporary Visa holders experiencing family violence. 

A Temporary Visa Holders Payment Pilot administered by The Red Cross will provide up to $3,000 to assist with expenses for food, accommodation, utilities, essentials and medical care. 

Permanent Residence Visa Holders 

A new delivery model for the Adult Migrant English Program from 1 July 2023. Provider payments will be linked to student outcomes.

The cap of 510 hours will be removed and migrants will be able to study until they have reached the level of ‘vocational’ English.

Highly Skilled Overseas Talent | The Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa program is designed to attract highly skilled individuals and Senior Executives from overseas who wish to establish a business in Australia

It will be a significant focus for skilled migration with $550 million committed to the program over the next four years. 

Streamlined visas will be available with dedicated support from the Government’s recently established Global Talent Taskforce.

Foreign investors will have access to fast-tracked tax advice and simplified tax residency rules through the Australian Tax Office.

Immigracious | Migration connections made simple

We’ll be sharing further insights on the direction of the Skilled Migration program in coming days. We hope this is helpful. 

You may also be interested in our other articles: 

The 408 Pandemic Visa
Applying for a Partner Visa in the COVID-19 Era | What you need to know
Leaving Australia in the COVID-19 Era | Outbound Travel Exemptions

As always, if you have any queries about your visa circumstances or options, we encourage you to get in touch with Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents

Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents
The Department of Home Affairs
The Migration Institute of Australia
Federal Budget Papers 2021

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

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