Australia’s government has unfolded its new Migrant program for 2021-2022, amid the ongoing pandemic, which will particularly affect international students, partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents, skilled migrants, and those planning to live and work in Australia permanently.

The new program came as a measure taken in response to the Coronavirus pandemic situation, VisaGuide.World reports.

Australia’s authorities have announced that the program for 2021-2022 will be retained at 160,000, taking into account 79,600 places for the skill stream and a total of 77,300 places for the family stream. Such new changes aim to make this program more flexible.

The planning levels for the Business Innovation and Investment Program will remain at 13,500, while the Global Talent Visa Program at 15,000 and the Employer-Sponsored visa at 22,000, just like the Program of 2020-2021.

According to a statement published by SBS Punjabi, a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson highlighted that the skill stream would focus on these three visa types in order to help Australia’s economy recover from damages caused by the Coronavirus.

“There will be continued flexibility within the Skill stream to respond to uncertain health, border, and economic conditions arising from COVID-19,” the department spokesperson pointed out in this regard.

Abul Rizvi, Former deputy secretary in the Department of Immigration, while talking about the department’s approach to maintain flexibility, stressed that planning levels often are related to the current situation.

“If you look at this year’s Global Talent allocations, the government was perhaps too ambitious, and therefore they have sliced it for the current program year. It’s, however, not clear why they have cut business innovation visas because the backlog is huge. But, on the other hand, they have increased places for the Employer-Sponsored category, which suggests a surge in demand,” he explained.

Authorities in Australia announced that they would accelerate visa applications for more occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) in order to help the country recover from the damages caused by the virus.

The new program will give priority to employer-sponsored visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL during processing.

Applicants with occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List will be subject to an accelerated visa process.

In November last year, Australia’s government introduced temporary changes to the Family visa program to support all persons affected by the Coronavirus.

Besides this program, authorities in Australia also applied changes to other visa categories. For example, in October 2020, the government stressed that migrants together with their permanent resident sponsors filing an application for a partner visa must have functional-level English or prove that they have attempted to learn the language.

According to Melbourne-based migration agent, Ranbir Singh applicants and their sponsors must prove English language skills.

Besides the changes mentioned above, on 24 June, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said that the Department of Home Affairs would update citizenship application fees.