Australia’s Skilled Migration Program to increase to help with severe skill shortages


Skilled Independent Visas, skilled migrants, Skilled Migration, visa 462, work and holiday, working holiday visa,


The 2022-23 permanent Migration Program ceiling will be 160,000 places.

Migration – Skill stream

The Morrison Government’s Migration Program will focus on skilled migration, with a return to a pre-pandemic composition of roughly two-thirds/one-third across the Skill and Family streams.

The Skill stream will increase to 109,900, more than 30,000 places above 2021-22 planning levels.

Within the Skill stream, the categories of Employer Sponsored (30,000 places), Skilled Independent (16,652 places) and State & Territory Nominated (20,000 places) have all been increased from 2021-22 planning levels.

Regional visas will more than double to 25,000 places to support growth in regional Australia.

Business Innovation and Investment (9,500 places), Global Talent (8,448 places) and Distinguished Talent (300 places) categories will ensure that Australia remains a favoured destination for the world’s best and brightest individuals and entrepreneurs.

Occupation lists will be reviewed and updated in early 2022-23 to reflect changes in Australia’s labour market, based on advice from the National Skills Commission.

Working Holiday Makers

The Government recognises the importance of the visitor economy to Australia’s national prosperity. Australia has Working Holiday Maker (WHM) arrangements with 45 countries, of which 26 partner countries operate under annual “cap” arrangements.

To support Australia’s economic future and the sustained growth of the tourism sector, the Morrison Government has announced a one-off cap increase to the number of places available to WHMs from countries with which Australia has a Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement.

As a result, around 11,000 additional WHM visas will be available for prospective backpackers. This measure is estimated to increase the underlying cash balance by $45 million over the next three years.

To further encourage the arrival of WHMs to Australia, between 19 January 2022 and 19 April 2022, Working Holiday Maker (WHM) (subclasses 417 and 462) visa holders who arrive in Australia can apply for a refund of the visa application charge (VAC). This complements visa refunds for Student (subclass 500) visa holders who arrive between 19 January 2022 and 19 March 2022.

From 1 July 2022 the age limit for Italian and Danish citizens wanting to work and travel in Australia will increase by five years – from 30 to 35 years of age. An additional 1,400 places will be available each year through reciprocal increases to visa caps for Hungary, Austria and the Slovak Republic.

Young people from Brazil will also be able to work, study and holiday in Australia under a new memorandum of understanding for a reciprocal Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement commencing on 1 July 2022. The arrangement will allow up to 500 young Brazilians aged between 18 and 30 to stay in Australia each year, for a 12-month holiday during which they can undertake short-term work and study.

Migration Program planning levels as announced as part of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Federal Budgets

Visa StreamVisa Category2021-222022-23
SkillEmployer Sponsored22,000​30,000
 Skilled Independent6,50016,652
 State/Territory Nominated11,20020,000
 Business Innovation & Investment13,5009,500
 Global Talent (Independent)15,0008,448
 Distinguished Talent200300
Skill Total79,600109,900
Migration Program planning levels as announced as part of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Federal Budgets

State and Territory nominated visa allocations​​​​

StateSkilled Nominated (Subclass 190) VisaSkilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visaBusiness Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)

View the Media Release here

New Working Holiday 417 visa arrangements for UK passport holders

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) entered into force, commencing new arrangements under Australia’s Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program and the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS).

From 1 July 2023, UK passport holders can apply for a Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 35 years inclusive. Working Holiday visa holders can currently stay three years in Australia. This stay consists of three separate visas granted for 12 months each.

From 1 July 2024, UK passport holders can also be granted up to three separate Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements such as hospitality or farming.

Source: Commonwealth of Australia

Source: Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

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