The Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda – An action plan for a stronger Australia has been released by the Federal Government.
The Agenda outlines proposals for lifting productivity, ensuring gains to economic and jobs growth, developing a better skilled labour force, lowering production costs, increased and improved infrastructure and cuts in red tape.
Proposals relevant to migration include the implementation of reforms to the 457 visa and enhancements to the investor visa programme.
Agenda Proposal 11: Streamlining the subclass 457 visa programme:
recommends implementation of the following recommendations of the Independent Review into the integrity of the 457 visa system:
- streamline the processing of sponsorship, nomination and visa applications around risk-factors to reward low-risk applicants and re-focus compliance and monitoring activities on high-risk applicants;
- reform sponsorship requirements to reduce the time and cost to businesses; increase the sponsorship approval period from 12 to 18 months for start-up businesses, to give start-ups more time to build their businesses to ensure sustainability;
- provide greater flexibility in relation to English language testing and skill requirements for 457 applicants, to ensure that the standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought; and
- retain the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold at $53,900, ahead of a future review of its operation.
Agenda Proposal 12: Expanding the investment visa programme:
expands the significant investor visa programme and introduces a new Premium Investor Visa
- streamline and enhance visa processing, further promote the programme globally and strengthen integrity measures, to increase the attractiveness of investing and settling in Australia while ensuring Australia’s interests are protected;
- align the criteria for eligible (or ‘complying’) investments with the Government’s national investment priorities. The investment eligibility criteria will be determined by Austrade in consultation with key economic and industry portfolios;
- introduce a Premium Investor visa (PIV), offering a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency than the SIV, for those meeting a $15 million threshold; and
task Austrade to become a nominating entity for SIV (complementing the current State and Territory governments’ role as nominators) and to be the sole nominating entity for PIV.