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Australia Launches Innovation Visa Program, Ending Golden Visas

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In a significant overhaul of its immigration system, the Australian government announced the introduction of an innovation visa program. This program aims to attract highly skilled workers who can contribute to the country’s economic growth.

The announcement, made by Treasurer Jim Chalmers during the annual budget presentation, marks a shift away from the previously offered investor migrant program, which the government argued brought minimal economic benefits.

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What is the Innovation Visa Program?

The Australian Innovation Visa Program is a new immigration initiative targeting highly skilled workers in sectors critical to the country’s economic growth.

It aims to attract individuals with expertise that can directly benefit Australia’s development, replacing an earlier program focused on investment.

Targeting Top Talent for Strategic Sectors

The new innovation visa replaces the existing Global Talent visa program, set to expire in late 2024. The Australian government emphasized that the new visa seeks to target “exceptionally talented migrants who will drive growth in sectors of national importance.”

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This suggests a focus on attracting individuals with skills in areas critical to Australia’s economic development.

Curbing Overall Immigration

The move to prioritize skilled talent aligns with the government’s goal of reducing overall immigration levels. Australia has witnessed a surge in student and temporary visa holders since the pandemic, putting pressure on housing availability and contributing to inflation.

Also Read: Work in Australia After Study? New Temporary Graduate Visa Rules Explained

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Phasing Out Golden Visas

The announcement also confirms the phasing out of the Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP), often referred to as the “golden visa.” This program offered a pathway to permanent residency for those investing significant sums in Australia.

Increased Scrutiny and Ballot System for Popular Visas

The Australian government is taking further steps to manage immigration. Scrutiny of student visas is being tightened, and a ballot system will be implemented for the popular work and holiday visa program for applicants from China, Vietnam, and India starting in the 2024-25 fiscal year.

Reduction in Net Overseas Migration

These combined actions are expected to significantly reduce net overseas migration. The government projects a decrease from 528,000 arrivals in 2022-23 to around 260,000 in 2024-25.

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Conclusion

This shift in Australia’s immigration policy prioritizes attracting skilled workers who can contribute directly to the nation’s economic prosperity.

It remains to be seen how effectively the new innovation visa program will attract top talent and how the reduced immigration levels will impact various sectors.


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