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Immigration and the Budget


The Federal Budget 2015 was revealed Tuesday 12 May, and contained some key announcements in relation to Australia’s migration program and visa holders in Australia.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Mr Peter Dutton, announced that the government’s decisions on immigration seek to benefit Australia by balancing its economic, social, and humanitarian responsibilities.
Border Protection
A strong focus of the budget is on border security, with substantial funding allocated for anti-people smuggling initiatives. The Australian Border Force (ABF) will commence operation from 01 July 2015.
The Migration Program
The Migration Program will remain steady with 190,000 places allocated for permanent migration in 2015-16. This will consist of 128,550 places for skilled migration, 57,400 places in the family stream, and 565 special eligibility places. The humanitarian program has a designation of 13,750 places, but this will increase to 16,250 in 2016-17 and 18,750 in 2018-19. Changes to Australia’s skilled and temporary migration legislation will see 25 visa subclasses consolidated into a simplified framework providing an easier process for visa applicants.
Working Holiday Makers
Those travellers coming to Australia on working holidays will no longer be eligible for the AUD$18,000 tax free threshold. The change means that Working Holiday Makers will pay 32.5¢ in the dollar of their income up to AUD$80,000. At the moment they pay no tax up to AUD$20,000 and 19¢ in the dollar up to AUD$37,000. This measure is due to come into effect from 01 July 2016.
Foreign Investment
From 01 December 2015, foreigners investing in property in Australia will have to pay AUD$5000 for properties valued under AUD$1 million and AUD$10,000 for properties over AUD$1 million. An incremental fee increase of AUD$10,000 will then apply for every additional AUD$1 million in property value.
Visa costs
Visa fees are also set to increase from 01 July 2015. The changes have been announced to fund investment in a number of improvements to support stronger borders and national security initiatives. Increases will apply as follows:

  • 2.3% for GSM, Skilled Graduate, 457, Visitor and Student streams
  • 5% for Temporary Short Term Business, Entertainment, Working Holiday, RRV, Retirement and Contributory Parent streams
  • 10% for Remaining Relative, Carer and Aged Dependent Relative and non-contributory Parent visas
  • 50% for Significant Investor visas and Offshore Partner visas.

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