Australian Government, 2011‑12 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Immigration and Citizenship

Afghanistan Passport and Visa Issuing System Capacity Building Project Phase III

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 6.1 3.7

The Government will provide $9.7 million over two years for Phase III of the Afghanistan Passport and Visa Issuing System Capacity Building Project to ensure that passports issued meet international standards.

This measure is an element of the Memorandum of Understanding that the Government of Australia, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees signed on 17 January 2011.

Funding for this measure will be offset from the provision for expanded aid funding held in the Contingency Reserve and therefore has no net impact on the budget position.

This measure is part of the Government's commitment to increase Australia's overseas development assistance over the long term.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 January 2011 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Border Security — initiatives to address irregular population flow in source and transit countries

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 7.4 14.3 11.6
Related revenue ($m)
Australian Taxation Office .. .. ..

The Government will provide $33.3 million over three years to strengthen cooperation with the South East Asian and Pacific regions to respond to irregular migration.

Of this, $23.8 million over three years will be provided to continue the Regional Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia where the Department of Immigration and Citizenship provides funding to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide practical support, such as accommodation, food and emergency medical assistance to irregular migrants intercepted in Indonesia. This work also arranges voluntary repatriation of irregular migrants.

Funding of $4.9 million will also be provided in 2011‑12 and 2012‑13 to the IOM to provide technical assistance to the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration to enhance the capacity of the Sri Lankan passport issuance process through the introduction of biometrics.

Funding of $28.7 million will be offset from the provision for expanded aid funding held in the Contingency Reserve and therefore has no impact on the budget position. This measure is part of the Government's commitment to increase Australia's overseas development assistance over the long term.

Funding of $4.6 million will also be provided to continue positions in the region to enable enhanced cooperation with regional governments and international organisations. These positions will assist to build capacity within the region to manage irregular migration and to develop a regional framework for the management and resolution of protection issues.

The measure is expected to lead to a negligible increase in revenue over three years as result of the tax treatment of the income and benefits received by deployed officers posted overseas.

This measure is part of the Australian Government's response to people smuggling.

Border Security — reintegration assistance program — continuation

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

The Government will provide $7.0 million in 2011‑12 to continue the Reintegration Assistance Program established in 2010.

The Reintegration Assistance Program supports the voluntary return of asylum seekers to their countries of origin. The program provides in‑country skills training, employment assistance and small business start up programs delivered by the International Organisation for Migration, an international intergovernmental organisation.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship — grant program efficiencies

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship ‑1.7 ‑1.7 ‑1.8 ‑1.8

The Government has identified savings of $7.0 million over four years through efficiencies within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's administration of grants for the Community Settlement Services and Diversity and Social Cohesion programs.

This measure will reduce the administrative costs of these grant programs without reducing the funding allocated to these grants.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship — reduction in funding to corporate support, policy and program design and service delivery functions

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship ‑29.7 ‑47.6 ‑51.5 ‑69.4

The Government will redirect funding for corporate support, policy and program design and service delivery functions within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to meet emerging priorities. Savings will be achieved by reducing expenditure on corporate support, policy and program design and service delivery functions. This measure will provide savings of $198.2 million over four years.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Humanitarian Migration Program — increase of 4,000 places

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Various Agencies 30.5 45.4 61.5 79.0

As a key component of the bilateral agreement with Malaysia, the Government will increase the Humanitarian Migration Program by an additional 4,000 places over four years at a cost of $216.4 million.

This will increase the average annual planning level to 14,750 for each year from 2011‑12 to 2014‑15, which is an additional 1,000 places per annum. These additional places will only be open to those already residing in Malaysia.

The bilateral arrangement is part of the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) agreed to at the Fourth Bali Process Ministerial Conference on 30 March 2011.

Further information on the bilateral agreement can be found in the joint statement of 7 May 2011 issued by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the joint press release of 7 May 2011 issued by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Immigration.

For further information see the related expense measure Regional Cooperation Framework — Transfer of Irregular Maritime Arrivals to Malaysia.

Initiatives to Increase Migration to Regional Australia

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

The Government will provide $4.8 million over four years to implement initiatives that encourage migration to regional Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship's current regional outreach network and information activities will be expanded to include: an information strategy to market visa products to regional employers; a series of expos; and an increase to the existing outreach officer network to enable officers to work closely with State and Territory governments, local councils and regional chambers of commerce and industry.

The Government has also made a number of changes to the Employer Sponsored Program stream of the 2011‑12 Migration program to encourage people with relevant skills to migrate to regional Australia. For the first time, the program will specify the number of places allocated to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme component, making 16,000 places available under the Employer Sponsored Program.

The Government is also reforming the criteria for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and the Employer Nominated Scheme with a view to streamlining and simplifying the pathway to permanent residency for Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) visa holders.

This measure will also encourage migration to regional areas by allocating the highest priority for processing visas to applications made under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and the Regional (Residence) visa.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Migration Program — allocation of places for 2011‑12

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Various Agencies 86.3 190.6 289.8 387.2
Related revenue ($m)
Australian Taxation Office 63.0 214.8 382.4 569.6
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 0.7 2.2 3.7 5.4
Department of Immigration and Citizenship ‑26.6 ‑27.3 ‑36.1 ‑37.0
Total 37.1 189.7 350.0 538.0

The Government will increase the 2011‑12 Migration Program to 185,000 places, up from 168,700 places for 2010‑11. The program will comprise 125,850 skill stream places, 58,600 family stream places and 550 special eligibility places.

The increase in the skill stream will assist in meeting emerging skills shortages, particularly in regional Australia. For the first time, the program will specify the number of places allocated to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme component of the Employer Sponsored Program and increase it to 16,000 — a 60 per cent increase. The increase in the family stream reflects the ongoing demand for family stream visas. A strong family migration program is also an important factor in attracting and retaining skilled migrants.

See also the related expense measure titled Initiatives to Increase Migration to Regional Australia.

The net impact on the fiscal balance is expected to be an increase of $160.9 million over four years.

Migration Review Tribunal — Refugee Review Tribunal — changes to application fees

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.5
Related revenue ($m)
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal 3.5 3.5 4.1 4.1

The Government will provide an additional $13.9 million over four years to the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT‑RRT). The additional funding is required to effectively manage the increase in caseload and case complexity.

The costs of the measure will be offset by changing the fee structure of the MRT‑RRT. The change to the fee structure will involve an initial 10 per cent increase and an ongoing biennial adjustment in line with changes in the Consumer Price Index.

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 0.6

The Government will provide $0.6 million in 2011‑12 to the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). This measure will supplement the base funding of the Authority to ensure it can continue to deliver on its objectives while a review on its future governance and funding arrangements is undertaken.

NAATI sets national standards for translators and interpreters. It is jointly owned by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments who contribute some $1.1 million annually to NAATI's revenue base (of which the Government contributes 50 per cent). The remainder of NAATI's revenue base is funded through testing fees.

New Skilled Migration Points test

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship

The Government will implement a new General Skilled Migration Points test to assess independent skilled migrants. The new test realigns the points test to better meet Australia's long term economic requirements and is in line with Government policy to reform the Skilled Migration Program to deliver the skills Australia needs.

The new points test is proposed to take effect from 1 July 2011, subject to commencement of supporting legislation and will apply to anyone lodging an application from 1 July 2011.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resources in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Further information can be found in the press release of 11 November 2010 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Refugee Status Determinations for offshore entry persons — streamlined processes

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 48.8 50.7
Federal Magistrates Court of Australia 2.0 2.0 2.1 2.1
Total 50.8 52.7 2.1 2.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Immigration and Citizenship ..

The Government will provide $107.7 million over four years to support the new process for determination of refugee status for offshore entry persons. This measure is part of the commitment made by the Government in response to the High Court decision that confirmed the availability of judicial review for offshore entry persons. The measure will provide:

  • $26.1 million over two years to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for internal and external legal expenses associated with anticipated judicial review of refugee status determinations;
  • $8.2 million over four years to the Federal Magistrates Court for two additional Federal Magistrates and their support staff to assist with the increased workloads. Approximately $2.1 million per year will be ongoing funding for the Federal Magistrates Court; and
  • $73.4 million over two years for the Independent Protection Assessment Office including an increase in the number of reviewers, to expedite the processing of refugee status applications under the Protection Obligation Determination process which has been developed in response to the High Court decision.

Further information can be found in the press release of 7 January 2011 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Regional Cooperation Framework — Transfer of Irregular Maritime Arrivals to Malaysia

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 28.8 18.2 15.6 13.3

The Government will provide $75.9 million over four years to provide support and maintenance for irregular maritime arrivals transferred to Malaysia under the bilateral arrangement with Malaysia. Under the bilateral arrangement, 800 irregular maritime arrivals arriving in Australia will be transferred to Malaysia for refugee status determination to limit the incentives for people to arrive in Australia by boat. In return, Australia will resettle a total of 4,000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The bilateral arrangement is part of the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) agreed to at the Fourth Bali Process Ministerial Conference on 30 March 2011.

This measure, along with other Government border security initiatives, are part of the Government's comprehensive approach to addressing people smuggling by working with countries in our region.

Further information on the bilateral agreement can be found in the joint statement of 7 May 2011 issued by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the joint press release of 7 May 2011 issued by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Immigration.

For further information see the related expense measure Humanitarian Program‑Increase of 4,000 places.

Skilled Migrant Selection Model

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2.6 0.3 0.3 0.3
Related capital ($m)
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2.4

The Government will provide $5.9 million over four years to reform the application process for permanent Skilled Migration applicants through the implementation of a new Skilled Migrant Selection Model. The model builds on and concludes the current series of reforms to the skilled migration program.

The principle objective of the model is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the skilled migrant selection process by ensuring that places are allocated to the best candidates across a wide variety of occupations.

The model will be a two stage process. Potential applicants will first submit their claims for a skilled visa through an online Expression of Interest (EOI). Applicants may then be invited by the Commonwealth Government, approved employers or State and Territory governments to make an application for a visa.

The Skilled Migrant Selection Model is proposed to take effect from 1 July 2012 subject to commencement of supporting legislation.

Temporary Business (Subclass 457) Visa Program — improved processing

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 3.1 2.3 2.3 2.3

The Government will provide $10.0 million over four years to enhance the Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) Visa Program and improve visa processing times. This measure aims to improve visa processing times from around four weeks to around two weeks, through opening a new processing site in Brisbane and increasing the number of processing staff.

This measure will allow employers to gain more timely access to overseas labour for genuine skill vacancies which cannot be filled from the Australian labour market.

The government will also introduce Regional Migration Agreements (RMAs) and Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs). RMAs will allow local authorities to negotiate and coordinate access to overseas labour for employers in the region. They will recognise the particular skilled migration needs of that area while fostering local training initiatives.

EMAs will streamline the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's (DIAC's) negotiation arrangements, allowing major resource projects with capital expenditure of $2 billion and a peak workforce of 1,500 workers to gain prompt access to overseas labour for genuine skills vacancies which cannot be filled from the Australian labour market.

The People of Australia — Australia's Multicultural Policy

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Australian Sports Commission
Total

The Government will provide $4.7 million over four years to implement the People of Australia — Australia's Multicultural Policy. The policy was developed in response to the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council's recommendations provided to Government in mid 2010.

The policy celebrates and values the benefits of Australia's diversity, maintains social cohesion and responds to intolerance and discrimination.

The Government has committed to three new initiatives in support of the policy, being the establishment of a new independent Australian Multicultural Council to advise on multicultural policy; a Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program administered by the Australian Sports Commission to connect youth from diverse backgrounds through sport and active recreation activities; and a National Anti‑Racism Partnership, which will design and deliver an anti‑racism strategy.

The cost of this measure will be met through existing departmental resources committed to the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council: from the reallocation of funds from the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program; and from savings identified by the Australian Sports Commission.

Further information can be found in the press release of 17 February 2011 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

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