How Does the Australian Federal Budget 2020-2021 Impact Family Visas?

The Australian Federal Budget is usually delivered to the Australian people by the Treasurer in early May each year. The budget outlines the estimated revenues and expenditures of the Treasury in the next financial year, which begins on 1 July each year. This year the budget announcement was delayed until 6 October 2020 because the Australian government was preoccupied with handling the Coronavirus Pandemic. So how does the budget impact Australian family visas?

The budget has provided a prediction that net overseas migration for 2020 – 2021 will be reduced to 71,200 people, compared to 154,000 people in 2019 – 2020. It is the first reduction of net overseas migration since 1946. Net overseas migration is expected to then increase gradually to approximately 201,000 people by 2023 – 2024. This is assuming that there is a Coronavirus vaccine widely available by the end of 2021 and the Australian border is able to gradually reopen.

Family Migration Program Levels to Increase

The overall migration program planning level will stay at 160,000 for the year 2020 – 2021, however the places for family visas will temporarily increase from 47,732 to 77,300. This is broken down as follows:

Migration program planning levels.JPG

This means that more partner visas will be granted in the year 2020 – 2021, which will help clear the backlog of applications which is estimated to be over 100,000. Unfortunately, it also means that the number of parent visas granted in 2020 – 2021 will be reduced from previous years, this is probably because parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are not eligible for an exemption from Australia’s border restrictions.

The budget estimates that 3000 child visas will be granted in 2020 – 2021, however child visas are not subject to a ceiling like other family visas are.

Changes to Family Visa Requirements

The Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 received royal assent on 10 December 2018, however most of the changes are yet to come into effect. The changes will now come into effect sometime in 2020 -2021 and include:

  • The requirement for a family sponsor to be approved before any relevant visa application can be made.

  • Obligations for approved family sponsors.

  • Sanctions for sponsor who do not satisfy their obligations.

  • The Department of Home Affairs will have the authority to share personal information with the applicant regarding the sponsor, including their criminal record if applicable.

The above changes will impact the following visa subclasses:

Another proposed change is the introduction of English language testing for partner visa applicants and sponsors who are permanent residents of Australia. This change is expected to face some tough opposition.

It is important to note that these changes will not impact family visa applications which have already been lodged with the Department of Home Affairs.

Change to New Zealand Skilled Visa Income Eligibility Requirement

The income requirement for the New Zealand Skilled Visa (subclass 189) currently requires an applicant to have a taxable income of at least $53,900 in each of the previous 4 financial years. This will change to at least $53,900 for 3 of the 5 previous financial years, including the most recent year.

Prospective Marriage Visa Application Fee Refund

Prospective Marriage Visa holders who are not able to enter Australia due to border restrictions will be eligible for a refund of the visa application fee. The Department of Home Affairs are not extending the entry date for Prospective Marriage Visa holders.

The ever changing nature of Immigration in Australia can make the visa application process quite daunting. If you are in the process of lodging an application or you would like to discuss your options feel free to book a free consultation with us by clicking think link.

About the author

Nick Hansen

Nick has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2016 when he founded Hansen Migration. Since then he has helped many migrants obtain permanent residency in Australia and Australian citizenship.

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