The figures of 2020-21 visa invitation rounds by the Department of Home Affairs and the recent updates indicate that Skilled Migration Skilled independent visa (Subclass 189) is not a priority for Australia anymore.
In its recent updates, the Department says, “In 2021-22, the Migration Program Skill stream will continue to focus on visa categories that will help Australia’s economy rebound from COVID-19, with priority given to visa cohorts that drive economic growth, job creation and investment into Australia.”
The three priority categories within the Skill stream for 2021-22 are:
Business Innovation and Investment Program
Global Talent Visa Program
“These visa categories provide investment, talent and critical skills to Australia and are well-positioned to assist Australia’s economic recovery,” the Department has said.
Until the invitation round of 21 April, Australia issued only 1690 invitations for this program during the financial year 2020-21, with only 30 invitations in October last year. Seven hundred invitations have been issued in the year 2021. In comparison, a total of 7,720 invites were issued in 2019-20.
Experts believe Australia will fill most immigration places through state nomination programs such as Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190) and Skilled Work Regional visa (Subclass 491).
Melbourne-based migration agent Chaman Preet says most places will be filled through state nominations, so one can assume that 189 is not a priority for the Department, at least in the financial year 2021-22.
In the financial year 2020-21, a total of 7,525 invitations were sent in these two programs only. The total number of intending migrants who received nominations from State and Territory Governments from 1 July 2020 to the end of June 2021 is 10,325.
2,080 invitations were sent for Business Innovation and Investment (provisional) visa (subclass 188), while 720 invitations were sent for Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132).
Melbourne-based migration agent, Rohit Mohan of Laksyha Migration, agrees that the trend does not look promising for 189 visa aspirants for 2021-22. However, he says that the phenomenon cannot stretch longer because Australia needs skilled migrants at all levels.
“The contribution by skilled migrants to Australia cannot be overlooked for a long term and lack of permanent residence pathways will also adversely impact the number of international students choosing Australia as a preferred destination,” said Mr Mohan
Sydney-based migration agent Pankaj Mittal is also of the view that 189 Visa cannot be written off.
“Extending PMSOL by adding 22 new occupations such as accountants to the list is one sign that shows how important skilled migrants are. Yes, the numbers have not been very good recently, but Subclass 189 will make a comeback,” opines Mr Mittal.