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Submissions relating to Immigration Paper 2019/2020 are now closed

Department of Home Affairs conducted public consultation “Australia’s 2019-2020 Migration Program".  The purpose of the discussion paper is to seek public and stakeholder views on Australia’s current immigration program to ensure that immigration continues to serve the national interest and the interests of all Australians in the coming year. The rate, composition and distribution of immigration has significant impact on Australia's current population and distribution of the population (especially regional areas). Australia’s immigration programs are continuously reviewed to ensure that settings maximise the benefits migration brings to Australia.

Specifically, the paper focuses on the following permanent streams:

  • Skill stream – improves the productive capacity of the economy and fills skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia. 
  • Family stream – allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with close family members, including partners, and certain dependent relatives. 
  • Special Eligibility stream - provides visas for those in special circumstances that do not fit into other streams, including former residents. The Special Eligibility stream is a very small component of the overall permanent Migration Program.

At current planning levels, the government anticipates to allocate approximately 190,000 places to permanent residency.  The government fell short of the target last year granting approximately 165 000 permanent residency visas.

The total program is broken down into the following streams:

  • Skill – This represents most places offered (128,550 places in 2018-19).
  • Family – 57,400 places in 2018-19. 
  • Special Eligibility – 565 places in 2018-19. 

Since 2015, the planning level has been treated as a ceiling rather than a target. This ensures that standards are not lowered to meet an overall number.

Topics covered in the paper include greater focus on low population areas and whether there are any opportunities to maximise migration intake in such areas.  Throughout 2018/19, a number of regional areas including the entire state of Northern Territory are negotiating Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) and the Federal Government is receptive to the initiative. The Australian Government consults with states and territories at multiple points each year to seek advice on the size and composition of the permanent Migration Program. This two-way dialogue supports the economic development needs of states and territories and that the best settlement outcomes for migrants and refugees are being achieved. 

Further, the paper also seeks to further address temporary skilled migration. Recent changes to strengthen age and English language requirements ensure Australia attracts the most highly skilled migrants, and a new pilot has been announced to attract entrepreneurs to bring innovative ideas and launch seed-stage start-ups also known as Global Talent Visa Scheme. These changes will strengthen the economic outcomes arising from the 2019-20 Migration Program.  

The following information has been gathered during the consultation process:

1. Would maintaining the current composition of the permanent Migration Program, approximately 70 per cent skilled immigration and 30 per cent family immigration, strike an appropriate balance that maximises the benefits of immigration for all Australians in 2019-20?

2. How can Australia maximise the economic outcomes from the Skill stream in the 2019-20 Migration Program?

3. What should the balance between skilled categories be in order to best meet the needs of Australians in 2019-20? 

4. Is the current size and composition of the Family stream appropriately balanced between partners, parent and other family?

5. What should the balance between family categories be in order to best meet the needs of Australians in 2019-20?

For ease of reference, the following permanent migration intake occurred in the past five years:

Program year Migration

Program outcomes












Any questions in relation to the paper can be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The results are expected to be published in due course.  Migration Alliance will advise once the results are available.

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