The Migration Program is designed to achieve a range of economic and social outcomes. The program is set annually, with the total places available capped at a ceiling of 190,000 for 2018-19, unchanged from 2017-18. The total program is broken down into the following streams:
Skill – designed to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia. This represents most places offered (128,550 places in 2018-19).
Family – is predominately made up of Partner visas, enabling Australians to reunite with family members from overseas, and provide them with pathways to citizenship (57,400 places in 2018-19).
Special Eligibility – this covers visas for those in special circumstances that do not fit into the other streams. This can include permanent residents returning to the country after a period away, and is the smallest stream (565 places in 2018-19).
At least 3,485 Child places will be available in 2018-19.
2018-19 Migration Program planning levels
|Stream and Category||2017-18||2018-19|
Skill stream |
|State & Territory & Regional Sponsored||28,850||28,850|
|Business Innovation & Investment Program||7,260||7,260|
|Skill % of Program||68.9%*||68.9%*|
|Family % of Program||30.8%*||30.8%*|
|Child (not subject to a ceiling)||3,485||3,485|
* As a percentage of the Migration Program.
Program size and composition
The size and composition of the Migration Program is set each year through the Australian Government’s Budget process. It is informed following broad public consultations with stakeholders, including business and community groups from all states and territories. Community views, economic and labour force forecasts, international research, net overseas migration and economic and fiscal modelling are all taken into account when planning the program.
The Humanitarian Program is managed outside of the permanent Migration Program and is for refugees and others in humanitarian need.
More information is available on Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program.