The big changes coming to the Australian immigration system

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There are some changes coming to the Australian immigration system later this year. The Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa will be replaced by the Skills in Demand visa. Additionally, the Australian government plans to improve the current points system that allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia. Sable International looks at what we know so far.  


Last year, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neill said that the current Australian immigration system was “not fit for purpose” and noted that the skilled people that the country needs were turned off by a complex, unworkable system. 

The strategy put forward is therefore not just about overcoming the short-term skills shortages or managing migration levels, but about “laying the groundwork for generational change”.

The 2023 Review of the Migration System has listed five core objectives:

  • Raising living standards
  • Ensuring a fair go in the workplace
  • Building stronger Australian communities
  • Strengthening international relationships
  • Making the system work

While there are more changes to come, these are two of the highlights that are set to be implemented later this year. 

The Skills in Demand visa

The TSS visa (subclass 482) employer-sponsored visa will be replaced with the Skills in Demand visa in late 2024. This new visa will be valid for up to four years and will have three distinct pathways.

  • Tier 1: The Specialist Skills pathway – For high-paid professionals to drive innovation and job creation.
  • Tier 2: The Core Skills pathway – This focuses on filling skill gaps across a range of occupations. This will be the main sponsorship option for most employers.
  • Tier 3: The Essential Skills pathway: This will cater to lower paid workers in critical sectors.

With the TSS visa, if you left your job, you would have 90 days to find a new one. One of the key benefits for those holding a Skills in Demand visa is that they will now have 180 days to find new employment. The new visa will also provide a pathway to permanent residency. The earning threshold for the Specialist and Core Skills Pathways will also be reviewed annually to ensure that overseas workers are not being paid less than local Australian workers.

As for employers, benefits include a consolidated occupation list for the Core Skills Pathways, making sponsorship of workers from abroad easier and faster. There is also talk of the government moving away from Labour Market Testing altogether and toward independent testing of the labour market through Jobs and Skills Australia.

Interested in migrating to Australia? Take Sable International’s free Australian visa assessment.

Potential changes to Australia’s points system

Individuals who come to Australia through the permanent skilled migration programme do not need a job offer to be granted a visa. Instead, they must meet the points system criteria and will be allowed to work in any field in Australia should their application be successful.

Australia’s points test is a key player in shaping the nation’s workforce by objectively comparing candidates’ skills and attributes before inviting them to apply for visas.

The points test applies to the following visa programmes:

  • Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)

Currently, the general points categories include:

  • Age
  • English language proficiency
  • Employment experience (both overseas and in Australia)
  • Educational attainment (including specialist qualifications and regional Australian study)
  • English language proficiency of the migrant’s partner

The Migration Review recommends a reformed points test that:

  • Focuses on characteristics associated with migrants successfully finding skilled work.
  • Better targets the skills Australia needs now and in the future.
  • Gives applicants a realistic sense of their application’s likely success.
  • Reflects that younger migrants will contribute more years to Australian workplaces.
  • Recognises the potential contributions from partners.

The government has commissioned the Australian National University to analyse the factors that drive success in Australia as part of the reform process. 

Get expert emigration advice

Considering the move to Australia? If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sable International at [email protected] or by calling +27 (0) 21 657 1526 or + 61 (3) 86514500 or +44 (0) 20 7759 5307

Their specialist consultants have an extensive understanding of the complex regulations and laws which govern Australian immigration and citizenship, reducing your stress and ensuring that your application has the highest chance of success.

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