The Australian immigration landscape has always been a defining feature of Australia’s economic and social life. Whilst Australia’s migration program continues to revolutionise with consultative public debate, Australia’s immigration policy has seen a movement away from family migration which used to represent two-thirds of the program in the early 1990s. Since the transition, we have seen governments placing more emphasis on the Skilled migration program, and now with a more employer-centric focus.

2019 hasn’t been too much different compared to last year, as it has been a challenging year with the overall size of the permanent migration program set by the government being reduced from 190,000 to 160,000 places. The decrease in allocations were the result of a re-balance of the Skilled migration category to prioritise the Employer Sponsored Regional and State Nominated categories. As the Australian migration program continues to shape, we have provided below a high-level review of the key changes which has taken place in 2019.

• 17 April 2019 – the long anticipated Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Subclass 870 visa commenced which enabled parents to temporarily remain in Australia for 3 or 5 year periods.

• 1 May 2019 – the definition of ‘Accredited Sponsors’ was revised to include companies which undertook major investments of at least $50 million into Australia, which has directly generated Australian employment.

• 30 June 2019 – the Department of Health initiated the new Health Workforce Certificate application process, which affected General Practitioners & Resident Medical Officers. Under this initiative, the number of doctors were reduced by 200 per year which is significant number, considering the specialised nature of the industry. The initiative was designed to redirect doctors into regional and remote areas of Australia where it’s needed the most.

• 26 October 2019 – immigration announced a change to the regional migration planning levels with an increase from 23,000 places to 25,000. The definition of regional postcodes were also revised, and all applicants from outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane would be able to access regional points.

• 26 October 2019 – introduction of bio-metrics takes place for certain regional visa categories. The process involves taking a digital photo of the applicant’s face and scanning all 10 fingertips, with the data being stored in the government’s database.

• 4 November 2019 – the Global Talent Independent program which offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia was implemented. The aim of the program is to attract high calibre candidates at the top of their field.

• 16 November 2019 – immigration introduced two new visas for regional Australia. The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 visa & the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa for skilled workers who wanted to live and work in regional Australia. These new visas will provide further incentives for migrants to bring their skills to regional Australia to and further grow the Australian economy. A new permanent visa pathway will also be available for holders of the new regional provisional visa in November 2022.

• 13 December 2019 – the government released their report which confirms which occupations will be flagged for change in 2020. Whilst the proposed changes aren’t finalised until the public consultation process is completed which will likely be in March 2020, we are connecting with our clients to review who will be potentially affected. Some of the proposed changes are listed below for your perusal.

Occupations which will potentially have a minimum salary threshold: Sales and Marketing Manager ($120K); ICT Project Manager ($120K); Information and Organisation Professionals ($90K).

Occupations which will potentially be added to the visa list: Corporate Treasurer; Aged or Disabled Carer; Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant.

If you would like to see the full list of changes, please refer to the following web link:

As you can see, it’s been another busy year with changes from immigration taking place every few weeks. In order to stay updated, please continue to subscribe to our e-Newsletters. If you or your business would like to discuss any of the above points, please feel free to contact our team at Oz Migration.


Written by Robert Lu.

Robert is the Immigration Manager at Oz Migration Solutions. He has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, passionate about immigration and a believer in “Big Australia”.

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