Australian Budget 2024-25: Key changes affecting Indian nationals

Starting in 2024/25, Indian nationals will have the opportunity to apply for the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa through a new ballot system.

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The Australian government has unveiled its Federal Budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, introducing significant immigration reforms with notable implications for Indian nationals. The Federal Budget 2024-25 emphasises streamlining visa processes, improving protections for migrant workers, and enhancing bilateral ties with India through various initiatives.

Work and Holiday Visa Program

Starting in 2024-25, Indian nationals will have the opportunity to apply for the Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa through a new ballot system. This pre-application process, also applicable to applicants from China and Vietnam, aims to manage demand and expedite application processing. Applicants will be required to pay a $25 ballot fee, which will be adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Extended Business Visitor Visa Validity

In a move to strengthen business relations, the validity period for the Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the Business Visitor stream for Indian nationals will be extended from up to three years to up to five years. This extension is intended to facilitate more extended business engagements and collaborations between the two countries.

Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES)

From November 1, 2024, the new Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES) will allow up to 3,000 young Indian graduates and early-career professionals to live and work in Australia for up to two years. This scheme targets individuals aged 18 to 30 with expertise in specific areas of study, promoting skill exchange and professional development. The application process includes a $25 pre-application fee and a $365 visa application charge, both subject to annual CPI adjustments.

Reduction in Work Experience Requirement

Effective November 23, 2024, the work experience requirement for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa will be reduced from two years to one year for all applicants. This change is designed to attract skilled workers more swiftly, addressing labor shortages in critical sectors.

Discontinuation of Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program

The Australian government will discontinue the Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP) in September 2024. Applicants who choose to withdraw their BIIP applications will receive a refund of their visa application charge. A redesigned program focusing on applicants who can make substantial contributions to Australia is expected to replace the current BIIP.

Enhanced Visa Services for Southeast Asia

As part of a broader initiative to strengthen ties with Southeast Asia, Australia will invest an additional $505.9 million over five years, with a continuous annual contribution of $118.3 million thereafter. This funding includes enhancing visa services and offering long-term business visas to frequent travellers from ASEAN nations and Timor-Leste, further facilitating economic and cultural exchanges.

Permanent Migration Program Expansion

For the 2024-25 period, Australia’s Permanent Migration Program will offer 185,000 places, with 132,200 (approximately 70%) allocated to the Skilled stream. From 2025/26, the planning timeframe for the permanent Migration Program will expand to a four-year period, improving the management and operation of Australia’s migration system.

Introduction of National Innovation Visa

By the end of 2024, Australia will launch the National Innovation Visa, replacing the Global Talent visa (subclass 858). This new visa aims to attract highly skilled migrants who can drive growth in key sectors, fostering innovation and economic development.

Read More: Victoria Budget: Families prime focus, international students left out

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