The Permanent Migration program of Australia is designed carefully for accomplishing some social and economic outcomes that serve the country's needs. The Program for Permanent Migration is planned annually, and program settings for migration assistance are announced as part of the Federal Budget every year.

The Department of Home Affairs undertakes comprehensive consultation to determine the composition and size of the Migration Program every year. They use advice from government agencies, States and UT's, public, academia, and industry.

Even as Australia seeks to boost migration as part of its recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, it has announced some changes in its migration policy.

The background to such changes is that migration to Australia has plummeted drastically since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic because of extensive border closures and travel bans. But these figures are expected to bounce back in 2022.

Such facts were as per the middle of the year economic update of the Treasury. The report says that though net foreign migration was estimated to be reduced by around 41,000 persons in 2021-2022, it is forecast to ascend to 180,000 persons in 2022-23. The latter is nearly double the former estimate.

Who is allowed entry?

Australia's borders were thrown open to some holders of skilled visas and international students with eligibility from December 2021, almost 6 months earlier than predicted in the budget of the Federal government.

Permanent Residents and Australian citizens are also allowed entry to the country. The family members of both groups can also apply for exemptions to enter.

Chances for holders of temporary visa

Though there was a spate of the flow of holders of temporary visa away from Australia while the pandemic raged on, because of lack of welfare support and work, the new focus is on providing PR (Permanent Residency) status to those persons who remained or stayed back in the country.

The planning level of 2021-2022 was kept as 160,000 places. The Department of Home Affairs wants to fill these 160,000 places with all the persons who are already in Australia. They are providing lots of pathways and extensions to this category of persons who dream of migration.

By this time, the government has also introduced several changes in visas, all through the pandemic. Such changes will be continued to boost the economic recovery of the country.

PR for skilled workers in hospitality and health

As early as in November 2021, the government proclaimed substantial changes in visas to retain migrants with high skills in critical sectors like Hospitality and Health for the sake of economic recovery. As per such changes, some skilled migrants who opted to stay in the country during the pandemic will be offered PR.

PR for skilled workers in regions

Among the new pathways for PR is Regional Sub Class 191 Visa for skilled persons that have studied, lived, and worked in a stipulated Regional area with a previously eligible visa. But this visa will begin only in November 2022.

PR for nationals of Hong Kong

Nationals of Hong Kong seeking PR in Australia have good news; they will be provided special pathways for PR from March 2022.

In November 2021, the government announced 2 new visa streams- Subclass 189 (Hong Kong Skilled Independent Stream) and Subclass 191 (Hong Kong Regional Stream). Such visas were expected to boost Australia's connections to Hong Kong.

There are also estimates that around 8800 current temporary students, skilled and graduate visa holders can have eligibility for these 2 new streams.

Change in 189 subclass visa for New Zealand

In 2021, the government of Australia also changed the pathway of New Zealand to help eligible holders of temporary visas who are citizens of New Zealand to gain PR in Australia.

In sum, these are some changes in Australian visas for those seeking migration assistance to Australia.

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