Federal Budget 2018 – Impact on Work Visas and Migrants

The release of the 2018 Federal Budget this week has affected many different groups of people in Australia.  However, some changes may affect Australia’s migrants and prospective migrants too.

  1. Changes to Welfare Access

The government is proposing a bill to increase the waiting period for newly arrived migrants to access certain welfare benefits from three years to four years from 1 July 2018. This bill has not yet become law.

This will affect welfare services such as Newstart and Youth allowance, paid parental leave, carers allowance, and the family tax benefit. There will be an exemption for vulnerable groups, including refugees and those who come into sudden financial hardship, such as victims of domestic violence.

  1. Changes to Work Visa Places for Doctors

“From January 1 2019, the Government will set a planning target of around 2,100 overseas trained doctors per annum to contribute to the continued growth in overall doctor numbers.”

This means the total number of overseas trained General Practitioners granted work visas each year will decrease from 2,300 places to 2,100. This is to address the current oversupply of doctors in some metro areas. The government will also use this change to specifically target regional areas with doctor shortages.

What this could mean for prospective migrants wanting to come to Australia as a General Practitioner is that:

(1)    it may be harder to obtain a skilled work visa as an overseas-trained general practitioner doctor; and

(2)    it is more likely that general practitioners coming to Australia will work in a regional area (489 regional work visa).

  1. Access to English Programs

The government will remove time limits for Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) clients aged under 18 years. The AMEP provides up to 510 hours of free English language tuition to newly arrived migrants to help them to participate in social and economic aspects of Australian life. These free classes are available to Permanent Resident visa holders, and to certain temporary visa holders.

If you require more information, please contact Elmtree Migration Lawyers on 1300 908 588 or email us at admin@elmtreemigration.net.au