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Migration Program planning levels

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​​​​​​​2023­–24 permanent Migration Program

On 9 May 2023, the Australian Government announced that the planning level for the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program will be set at 190,000 places.

The Government has designed the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program to address persistent and emerging skills shortages and to attract people with specialist skillsets that are difficult to find or develop in Australia.

While Australia is building the domestic pipeline of highly skilled workers, the permanent Migration Program will help:

  • build resilience
  • boost productivity
  • support our economy as it transitions to net-zero emissions.

The 2023–24 permanent Migration Program also recognises the strong contribution all migrants make to social cohesion. It focuses on strengthening family and community bonds in Australia. It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to family reunification.

The permanent Migration Program will help address the challenges of an ageing population. Migration reduces the average age of the population and slows the rate of population ageing. This is because migrants are, on average, younger than the existing Australian population.

A well-targeted, skills focussed Migration Program supplements the cohort of working-age people. It helps boost participation rates and the size of the labour force.

The 2023–24 permanent Migration Program has the following composition:

  • Skill stream (137,100 places, approximately 72 per cent of the program) – This stream has been designed to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia.
  • Family stream (52,500 places, approximately 28 per cent of the program) – This stream is predominantly made up of Partner visas, enabling Australians to reunite with family members from overseas and provide them with pathways to citizenship. Of this stream:
    • 40,500 Partner visas are estimated for 2023–24 for planning purposes, noting this category is demand driven and not subject to a ceiling
    • 3000 Child visas are estimated for 2023–24 for planning purposes, noting this category is demand driven and not subject to a ceiling.
  • Special Eligibility stream (400 places) – This stream covers visas for those in special circumstances, including permanent residents returning to Australia after a period overseas.​​​​
Migration Program planning levels as announced as part of the 2022–23 and 2023–24 Federal Budgets
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Visa Stream

Visa Category

2022–23 Planning levels

2023–24 Planning levels

Skill

Employer Sponsored

35,000

36,825

Skilled Independent

32,100

30,375

Regional

34,000

32,300

State/Territory Nominated

31,000

30,400

Business Innovation & Investment

5,000

1,900

Global Talent (Independent)

5,000

5,000

Distinguished Talent

300

300

Skill Total

142,400

137,100

Family

Partner1

40,500

40,500

Parent

8,500

8,500

Child1

3,000

3,000

Other Family

500

500

Family Total

52,500

52,500

Special ​​Eligibility

100

400

Total Migration Program

195,000

190,000

1 Delivery of the Partner and Child visa categories are demand driven, with indicative planning levels only.

2023–24 permanent Migration Program planning levels

The 2023–24 permanent Migration Program has been set at the pre-COVID planning level of 190,000.

This is a slight reduction of 5000 places compared with the 2022–23 permanent Migration Program planning level of 195,000 places.

Skilled Independent visa category

The 2023–24 permanent Migration Program has allocated 30,375 places for Skilled Independent visas. This is comparable to the 2022–23 program allocation of 32,100 places.

The smaller planning level for this category in 2023–24 reflects the closure of the New Zealand stream of the subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa from 1 July 2023. This is due to a new direct pathway to citizenship for Special Category Visa holders who meet citizenship eligibility requirements.

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visa category

The Government has reduced the planning level for the BIIP from 5000 visas in 2022–23 to 1900 visas for the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program.

Reducing the planning level for BIIP will ensure the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program has a greater focus on addressing immediate workforce shortages. It will continue to provide places to those business and investor migrants who can best contribute to Australia’s economic growth. It will also provide places to entrepreneur migrants whose innovations can increase the productivity of Australian businesses.

Global Talent visa category

The 2023–24 permanent Migration Program has maintained 5000 places for the Global Talent Visa Program.

Retaining the planning level ensures that while the permanent Migration Program focuses on addressing persistent skill shortages, we maintain our status as a competitive and preferred destination to internationally mobile exceptional talent.

Family stream

The Government has maintained the size of the family stream. Family migration is an important element of Australia’s migration system. It allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with their family members and contribute to stronger social cohesion outcomes. The Australian Government recognises that immigrant parents can make valuable social contributions to their families and local communities.

The Partner visa category is the largest within the family stream. From 2022–23, the Partner program moved to a demand driven model which:

  • recognises the social, economic and demographic benefits of family reunification and the Partner visa program in particular
  • supports Australia’s population growth and social cohesion outcomes by facilitating Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with their partners
  • provides the flexibility to adjust the program in line with expected demand and help to reduce the Partner visa pipeline and processing times for many applicants.

In 2022–23, the size of the Parent program increased from 4500 to 8500 places while the Other Family (the Aged Dependent Relative, Remaining Relative and Carer programs) visa category was maintained at 500 places. The Government has maintained these planning levels in the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program.

The Child visa program allows persons to sponsor their dependent or adopted child or an orphaned relative. The Child program has been demand-driven since 1 July 2019 and remains set at 3000 places for planning purposes. The Australian Government prioritises the reunification of a child with an Australian parent or family sponsor. This ensures we uphold our international obligations to consider the best interest of a child as a primary consideration.

Delivery of the 2023–24 Migration Program

The Government will continue efforts to manage the number of visas on-hand by extending funding for 500 visa processing officers. It will provide an additional $48.1 million over 12 months.

The efforts of a large number of additional trained visa processing staff that commenced in 2022 and early 2023 have significantly increased visa processing capacity. In 2023–24, the Government is also investing $27.8 million over two years to upgrade existing visa ICT systems. This will improve visa service delivery efficiency and increase Australia’s attractiveness in the global race for talent, students and tourists.

2023–24 permanent Migration Program consultation

The size and composition of the Migration Program is set each year alongside the Australian Government’s Budget process.

To inform the planning levels and policy settings of the 2023–24 Migration Program, consultation occurred with:

  • state and territory governments
  • academia
  • industry
  • unions
  • community organisations.

When planning the Migration Program, the Australian Government considers the following:

  • Public submissions
  • Economic and labour force forecasts
  • International research
  • Demand for permanent visa programs
  • Net overseas migration
  • Economic and fiscal modelling.

The Department invites public submissions as part of the planning process for future Migration Programs. Submissions to inform the 2024–25 Migration Program have now closed. ​For more information, see Australia's 2024–25 Migration Program.​ ​

There was strong stakeholder support across business, industry and union groups to maintain or increase the permanent Migration Program for 2023–24. The Government has designed the planning level of the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program to achieve optimal outcomes in a complex and evolving economic context. We will continue to ensure that Australia has access to skilled migrants at a time of increasing global competition for talent.

The composition of the program maintains a significant focus on permanent skilled places. This supports Australian industry and businesses. It also delivers a key commitment made by the Government to ensure no migrant is ‘permanently temporary’.

State and territory nominated visa categories – nomination allocations

Under the Migration Program settings, nomination allocations are available to states and territories in the following visa categories:

  • Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491)
  • Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)

States and territories each assess eligible applicants against criteria unique to their jurisdiction.

Further information on state and territory nomination requirements can be found at:

2023–24 state and territory nomination allocations

State

Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa

Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)*

ACT

600

600

0

NSW

2,650

1,500

0

NT

250

400

0

QLD

900

650

0

SA

1,100

1,200

0

TAS

600

600

0

VIC

2,700

600

0

WA

1,500

850

0

Total

10,300

6,400

0

* ​No new allocations have been given for the BIIP. The Department has enough applications on-hand to meet the 2023–​24 planning level for the BIIP.​
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Net overseas migration – relationship with the permanent Migration Program

The permanent Migration Program is only one component of net overseas migration (NOM). NOM includes temporary migration, such as Working Holiday Makers and Students. It also includes Australian citizens, New Zealanders and Humanitarian migrants.

​The size of the permanent Migration Program has not increased since 2022–23 and it is not the reason for recent increases​ in NOM. The permanent Migration Program has only a partial impact on NOM in the near-term. Around 60 per cent of visas under the permanent Migration Program are granted to migrants already onshore and in the community, residing in established households at the time of visa grant. This minimises the permanent Migration Program’s near-term impact on housing, infrastructure and services.

You can find further details about NOM on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website. Details about NOM projections are at the Centre for Population’s National Projections.​