Budget 2015-16 - Migrants to Pay More
By Mark Webster
Thursday, 14 May 2015
Increase to Offshore Application Fees for Family MigrationHardest hit will be offshore visa applicants in the family stream. Currently, it is much less expensive to lodge an offshore family stream visa compared to lodging from within Australia. For example, it currently costs $4,630 to lodge a partner visa offshore, versus $6,865 to lodge the application in Australia. Immigration will "harmonise" application fees for family stream visas from 1 July. As a result, offshore applicants will pay the same higher fee as onshore applicants. This change affects partner visas, and also prospective spouse (fiance) visas for which the fee will increase by over $2,000. This brings a whole new meaning to "Harmony Day". Non-Contributory Parent, Other Family, and Special Migrant category visas will not only be "harmonised" but subject to a 10% increase in fees. For instance, the fee for an offshore parent visa will increase by $1,500. Visa types subject to both "harmonisation" and the 10% increase include:
- Non-Contributory Parent: $3,870
- Aged Dependent Relative: $3,870
- Remaining Relative: $3,870
- Distinguished Talent: $3,655
- Former Resident: $3,520
The good news is that at least there seems to be no immediate plan to again attempt to abolish other family visas, so at least it would appear that these visa categories will remain open for the time being.
Significant Investor Visas - 50% Increase in FeesThe Significant Investor stream of the Business Innovation and Investment Subclass 188 will face a 50% increase in fees to $7,010.
5% Increase for Most Visa Application TypesMany other visa types are subject to a 5% increase - examples include:
- Resident Return Visas: $360
- Working Holiday and Work and Holiday Visas: $440
- Temporary Work Visas such as the Subclass 401, 402, 403 and 420 visas: $380
- Contributory Parent - in this case, fees seem to have escaped "harmonisation" with fees for offshore applications ($2,490) being lower than onshore applications ($3,695)
CPI Increase for Skilled Stream VisasRemaining visas are subject to a CPI increase of 2.3% - these include most of the skilled stream visas as follows:
- 457 Temporary Work (Skilled): $1,060
- 485 Graduate Temporary: $1,470
- ENS/RSMS: $3,600
- General Skilled Migration: $3,600
The modest increase in skilled migration fees, as compared to the hefty increases to family migration fees, really underline the current government's focus on skilled migration over family migration.