News from Immigration Australia – March 2019

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australia immigration newsImmigration Australia has made a couple of announcements with regards to skilled migration in March. These announcements touch on three areas:

  1. The Migration Program ceiling for 2019-20
  2. The definition of Regional Australia
  3. Expansion of Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)

1. The Migration Program ceiling for 2019-20

The Migration Program planning ceiling for 2019-20 is 160,000, with a continued focus on skills.

In fact, more than two thirds of the Program is allocated to the skilled stream. The is focus on categories that allow employers, states, or territories to nominate skilled workers.

This move has been in the news recently, as an intake of 160,000 means a cut of 15%. In the previous period, the intake was 190,000. According to reports, Immigration Australia wants to attempt to curb congestion and rising house prices.

You can read more about the Migration Program ceiling here.

2. The definition of Regional Australia

In November 2019, the definition of Regional Australia for all skilled visas will be simplified and expanded to include all of Australia except for the following metropolitan areas:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Gold Coast
  • Perth

Areas within the new regional definition will have access to two new skilled regional provisional visas. This move will enable migrants and employers to access a wider range of occupations and to receive priority processing.

3. Expansion of Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)

The Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) enable participating regions to respond to their unique workforce shortages by accessing experienced overseas workers for skilled or semi-skilled occupations that cannot be filled by the local labour market.

The expansion of the DAMAs will further enable regions to access the right skills in order to support businesses and to ensure that local communities thrive.

The Northern Territory DAMA has been operating successfully since 2015 and a further five-year agreement commenced in December 2018. Australia will now also establish DAMAs in four other regional locations:

  • Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia.
  • Regional South Australia.
  • Adelaide City.
  • Great South Coast, Victoria.

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