A Letter from Maike Versfeld, Intergate Emigration Licensed Advisor

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Due to the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic, migration to Australia has been pretty slow since last year.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! News out of Australia indicates that we could see the borders reopen by December.

Hopefully that means more migrants from overseas would be able to enter Australia next year – much more than during the 2020-2021 migration year where the focus was on onshore applicants.

I’ll give you a summary of the 2020-2021 year a bit later on but first let’s chat about the prospect of ‘going back to normal’.

Australia is hopeful that borders will reopen by December 2021

The Australian government has a phased national plan to respond to COVID-19, which includes reopening the borders. The plan’s third phase, ‘Phase C, allows for a gradual border reopening provided 80% of Australians have been vaccinated. The good news is that the Australian government expects to reach this ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold by December.

Qantas Airways, Australia’s largest airline, has already announced a gradual restart of international flights into Australia from around December 2021. Qantas is seemingly confident that this target date remains in reach based on the pace of Australia’s vaccine rollout.

The reopening of the borders does of course remain dependent on the Australian government’s decisions. However, at the moment, the signs are signaling towards a possible border reopening and with it, hopefully, more movement in terms of offshore skilled migrant nominations in the coming months. I would thus like to encourage you to remain patient and positive!

You can click here for a tracker of Australia’s vaccination status. The tracker shows the national vaccination progress and gives an overview by when Australia expects to meet phase B and C of their reopening plan.

Summary of the 2020-2021 Migration Program year

The 2020-2021 Migration Program year played an important role in Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery, and it was aimed at creating jobs and bringing high-value investments to Australia.

We now have the results of the Program year and I’ll share a summary with you below:

  • The Skilled Independent program (subclass 189) only contributed 9% to the total migration program of 160,000 places, of which only 790 places went to applicants outside Australia.
  • Instead of contributing two-thirds to the overall migration program, the Skill Stream only contributed 50.7% to the overall numbers. This means a 19.1% drop from previous years.
  • The Global Talent category had an outcome of 9,584 places (12%). The GTI category considers candidates who meet relevant criteria, including demonstrating an international record of exception and outstanding achievements within a target sector.
  • Visa processing focused on onshore applicants and applicants in critical sectors and occupations. A massive 71.2% of applicants finalised in the Skill Stream were onshore. A total of 107,997 program places went to applicants in Australia while 52,055 places went to applicants outside Australia.
  • The refusal rate of employer-sponsored visas was 2.4%, which is a great compared to the 2019-20 refusal rate of 6%.
  • The pipeline for the Parent category was 114,359 applications on 30 June 2021. The estimated processing time of the contributory parent visa categories is currently 58 months.

You can read my full article on this subject on LinkedIn if you’d like a more in-depth look at the results of the 2020-2021 Migration Program year.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help with a visa application or simply have a question about immigration to Australia. Our team will be more than happy to assist you!

Maike Versfeld

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