The future of Australia’s Visa system – Pay as you go?

On the 20th of March 2015 the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the “greater use of charges relative to quotas and qualitative criteria to determine the intake of temporary and permanent entrants into Australia.” The final report of the enquiry, due in mid-March 2016, will examine the possibility of a move away from skill and family based criteria for migration purposes in favour of a move towards a price-based system.
In the Productivity Commission Issues Paper entitled ‘Migrant Intake into Australia’ released on 1 March 2015, the scope of inquiry will examine four key areas of the Australia migration sector including:

  1. The effect the intake of permanent residents into Australia has on the state of the Federal budget and the living standards of Australian citizens;
  2. The possibility of using alternative methods to determine the intake of migrants;
  3. The costs and benefits of temporary migrants to Australia; and
  4. The possible methods through which the ideal balance between temporary and permanent migration can be achieved, bearing in mind the capacity for temporary migration to be a pathway to permanent migration.

The model contemplated would involve no skill or family requirements for potential migrants, with the right to work included for all entrants, and limited access to social security and other education, housing, and health related subsidies. It should be noted that this model would preserve the need for applicants to meet certain health, character, and security requirements as part of their application.

The due date for initial submissions is 12th of June 2015, with a draft report set to be released in mid-November 2015. While no parts of this model have been considered or announced as part of government policy, it does provide some food for thought for those interested in both the state of the Federal budget and the future of migration to Australia.

For more information, visit the Productivity Commission’s website here.

If you have any questions regarding Australian visas or would like to begin your visa application, please contact us today. Our team have assisted many clients through the visa system and process.

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