Date posted: 21/05/2024

Federal Budget 2024-25: Skilled migration implications for accountants

Key budget measures and advocacy to deliver a smaller, better targeted migration system and improve skilled employment outcomes.

In brief

  • Permanent Migration Program to remain focused on skills.
  • Information and education to support migrant workers and mitigate exploitation.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa work experience requirement reduced.

Here are some of the key skilled migration measures relevant to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) members and our advocacy to address the ongoing shortage of accounting and audit professionals and build the talent pipeline.

Permanent Migration Program to focus on skills

CA ANZ is pleased to see around 70% of the 185,000 places provided for Australia’s 2024-25 permanent Migration Program will be allocated to skilled visas, with Employer Sponsored visas increased from 36,825 to 44,000. We have advocated for the focus to remain on the Skill stream and preference skills in shortage, like accounting and audit, that cannot be filled by domestic talent.

CA ANZ is contributing to the government’s review of the points test used for certain skilled visas which plays a key role in the permanent migration program. Our focus is on how to better target points tested visas to meet Australia’s accounting and audit skills needs and improve skilled employment outcomes.

As CA ANZ has advocated for better longer-term planning, resource allocation and coordination between all levels of government, we support the proposed extension of the planning horizon for the permanent Migration Program from one year to four from 2025-26 which will help achieve this aim.

The budget estimates net overseas migration will reduce by 110,000 over the forward estimates from 1 July 2024. Between 2022-23 and 2024-25, migration will be almost halved from 528,000 to 260,000.

Information and education to support migrant workers

As CA ANZ has advocated for government to provide support for international graduates and migrants through work readiness programs, we are pleased to see the budget include $15 million over three years from 2024-25 to provide migrant workers with information and education about workplace safeguards, protections and compliance measures related to migration laws.

CA ANZ is also calling on the government to assist in making better use of international graduate and migrant skills by supporting reform proposals to build on the Professional Year (PY) Program for accounting which has demonstrated superior employment outcomes for graduates.

The Migration Strategy found over 50% of graduate visa holders with a bachelor’s degree or higher are working significantly below their skill level, despite studying in areas in shortage, like accounting. 

Addressing exploitation of migrant workers

CA ANZ welcomes the allocation of $1.9 million for a pilot enabling the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Taxation Office to analyse income and employment data with a view to mitigating exploitation of migrant workers and abuse of Australia’s labour market and migration system. We have advocated for government to tackle migrant exploitation and wage theft through providing education programs in our submission to the review of Australia’s migration system.

Temporary Skill Shortage visa work experience requirement reduced

The Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) work experience requirement will be reduced from two years to one from 23 November 2024. Applicants will be required to have one year of full-time relevant work experience before they can be sponsored by an employer for a skilled role. This change will likely result in greater numbers of applicants. However, our members have told us that employers using sponsored visas are generally looking for accounting and audit professionals with at least two to three years of relevant work experience.

CA ANZ’s article on the key education measures announced in the budget provide our views on the implications of the government’s proposed cap on international student numbers, which is the largest contributor to temporary migration.

New Core Skills Occupation List to impact temporary migration 

The Australian Government is consulting on a draft Core Skills Occupation List (CSOL) which will impact temporary migration. Feedback received from our members so far indicates great concern that there are several accounting and audit occupations targeted for consultation which are currently in shortage and should be included on the CSOL. External auditors continue to be in critical shortage, with employers relying on the skilled visa program to supplement the domestic talent shortfall.  

CA ANZ will make a submission on the draft CSOL and welcomes members to provide their views. Please contact us at [email protected] before 31 May 2024.

Skilled visas streamlined

A new National Innovation visa will be introduced in late 2024 to attract exceptionally talented migrants and replace the Global Talent visa and the Business Innovation and Investment visa. These actions complement reforms being developed for the points test to better identify migrants who will contribute to Australia’s long-term prosperity.

Return to Federal Budget Coverage

Equipping you with the information and commentary you need to know about the Federal Budget.

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Professional Year submission

Joint PY programs submission to improve employment and migration outcomes

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Permanent Migration submission

Joint submission on Australia’s 2024-25 Permanent Migration program

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