There’s good news for skilled migrants: Australia will improve access to highly-paid skilled migrants. The government was expected to restructure its strategy before the end of the year. Nevertheless, it appears that the Cabinet has already approved the government’s response to the Migration Review. Therefore, we may unveil the plan much sooner. 

The visa process for skilled migrants earning over $120,000, or potentially as much as $150,000+, could soon expedite to a matter of days or weeks. And this means that Australia will improve access to highly-paid, skilled migrants. Here’s the summary:

Introducing a Salary-Based Migration System: Greater Compensation with Reduced Risk 

The government has consulted with interested parties to determine how to categorise skilled migrants into tiers, with the highest tier receiving additional incentives.

Tier 1: Specialised, Highly Skilled, and High Salary Cohort

The wage level may include skilled migrants earning above $120,000 (or $150,000+).

According to the Financial Review, the government identified several professions that might be banned from this category despite meeting income standards. Not confirmed. However, trade vocations may be excluded from Tier 1.

Tier 2 may need highly experienced mining employees, chefs, and machinery installers who teach local people.

Benefits of this category may include:

  • No-Skilled Jobs
  • Skipping labour market testing
  • In addition, fast visa processing in days or weeks

Tier 2: Skilled Workers | ‘Core’ Visa Stream

Highly skilled migrants earn over $70,000 but below the top-tier income. For this tier and no labour market outlook, an independent Migration Review proposed a data-driven skills list. More emphasis on regulations. 

Tier 3: Industry-Specific Essential Workers

Skilled migrants earn under $70,000 annually. Designed for shortage-prone businesses like elderly care. Regulations and compliance are prioritised (the Migration Review found labour exploitation is higher among low-wage migrants).

Responses of Business Groups: Consultations with Stakeholders

Australia will improve access to highly-paid skilled migrants: others’ opinions:

Business organisations’ responses, according to The Financial Review:

Salary Thresholds 

  • Business groups want a lower top-tier wage requirement of $98,000 to maximise access.
  • On the other hand, unions want a top-tier pay threshold of $200,000 that bars regulation-light features.

Worker Exclusion from the Top Tier

  • Some firms also worry that qualified tradesmen may be excluded from the top tier despite their proposed compensation being over the threshold.
  • Andrew McKellar, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes this might deepen the blue-collar-white-collar split.
  • According to AiGroup Manager Innes Willox, trade skills should be considered specialised abilities and included in the top tier.
  • As long as income standards are satisfied, Grattan Institute Economic Policy Director Brendan Coates wants the top tier for all professions, including trades. Construction skill shortages were also highlighted.