2013-14 Budget Overview: Australia’s Migration Program

A preliminary reading of the DIAC Portfolio Budget Statements 2013-14 shows migration has come through relatively unscathed following a tough budget where unpopular decisions were made. The following was revealed:

  • Total Migration Program numbers remain unchanged at 190,000;
  • Skilled Program down by 700 places to 128,550;
  • Family Program up by 700 to 60,885;
  • Total departmental revenue is expected to increase from $1,333.7 million to $1,462.3 million. The movement is primarily due to an increase in revenue from Government (appropriation revenue) of $126.7 million and an increase in DIAC’s own source revenue of $1.9 million;
  • Visa and Migration Program delivery expenses increase from $508 million to $518 million;
  • Visa compliance and status resolution expenses increase from $87 million to $96 million;
  • Refuge expenses increase from $118 million to $551 million in response to the Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, which recommended an increase in the Humanitarian Program to 20,000 places annually;
  • There will be a comprehensive review into Australia’s refugee status determination system;
  • At least 12 percent of offshore refugee grants through the Woman at Risk Subclass;
  • Settlement services expenses increase from $479 million to $552 million;
  • Grants for multicultural affairs increase from $732,000 to $9.5 million;
  • Enhancement and extension of biometric testing;
  • Enhancement of the DIAC’s capability to detect and minimise identity and document fraud;
  • Subclass 457 visa application charges will increase revenue by more than $46 million;
  • Improvements to communications that increase consumers’ understanding of their rights and agents’ understanding of their obligations under the regulatory framework; and
  • Five percent of agents to be monitored – which is not a change.

The Government’s reform agenda for the Migration Program includes:

  • Labour market policy framework;
  • Long term migration planning framework;
  • Skills targeting (permanent and temporary);
  • Review of student programs;
  • Working holiday, visitor and specialist entry programs;
  • Visa simplification and deregulation agenda; and
  • Implementation of a fairer approach to migration for people with a disability

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship states that this Budget will keep economy strong and ensure all Australians get a fair go. To read more about what the Migration program is delivering for Australia, click here.

If you have any further questions regarding changes to migration in the 2013-14 Budget please contact our Migration Team.

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