May 8th, 2018

2018 Federal Budget visa changes

2018 Federal Budget – highlights

The papers are being released slowly but so far this is what we know for changes affecting visas …

Please only send questions to

(will be updated as we see more) ..

Visas for Doctors/Medical Practitioners
The Government will improve the targeting of visas for general practitioners to areas of doctor shortages. From 1 January 2019, the Government will set a planning target of around 2,100 overseas trained doctors per annum to contribute to the continued growth in overall doctor numbers. Visas for other specialties and for state and territory based employment will not be affected.
Better managing the total number of doctors entering the system and directing them to areas of need has also made available $415.5 million over four years from 2018 19 to fund Health policy priorities
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Permanent visas for Retirement Visa (405/410) holders –
The Government will introduce a pathway to permanent residency for holders of Retirement (subclass 410) and Investor Retirement (subclass 405) visas.
From 2018-19, a portion of the planned parent permanent migration places will be quarantined for retirement visa holders each year. Retirement visa holders in Australia will be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent visa through the Parent (subclass 103) or Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa streams. Retirement visa holders will be exempted from some parent visa requirements that they would typically be unable to meet, such as having family in Australia. The pathway will remain open until all retirement visa holders who wish to transition to permanent residency have done so.
As part of the establishment of the pathway, the Government will close the subclass 405 visa to new applicants. The subclass 410 visa is already closed to new applicants.
The measure is estimated to have a gain to the budget of $8.2 million over the forward estimates period. The revenue generated from this measure will be redirected by the Government to fund policy priorities within the Home Affairs portfolio.
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Longer Waiting times for welfare for New migrants
The Government will achieve savings of $202.5 million over five years from 2017 18 by increasing the waiting period for newly arrived migrants to access certain welfare benefits from three years to four years from 1 July 2018. This measure also clarifies the application of the waiting period and exemptions for certain welfare benefits.
Current exemptions for vulnerable groups will continue to apply. Humanitarian migrants will remain exempt from all waiting periods, and hardship provisions will remain in place.
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Refunds for Training Fees expanded on 482 visa
The Government will expand the refund provisions for the Skilling Australians Fund
levy to allow refunds of the levy in the following scenarios:
• the employer’s sponsorship application is approved but the employee’s subsequent
visa application is refused on health or character grounds;
• the sponsorship and visa applications are approved but the visa holder does not
commence work with the employer; or
• a Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holder leaves their employer within
the first 12 months of employment where the visa period was for more than
12 months. Refunds will only be available in this scenario for unused full years of
the levy.
These provisions are in addition to the existing refund provision for scenarios in which
an employer’s sponsorship application is refused.

The Government will also exempt religious organisations from paying the Skilling
Australians Fund levy when they nominate a foreign skilled worker for a Temporary
Skill Shortage (subclass 482) or Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa
under the Minister of Religion Labour Agreement or a company-specific Labour
Agreement, covering bishops, ministers of religion and religious assistants.