Australian Government, 2012‑13 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Immigration and Citizenship

Border Security — Combating people smuggling — enhanced capacity

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 5.0 - - -

The Government will provide $11.3 million over two years to enhance engagement and provide training and technical assistance to regional immigration agencies. This will assist these agencies to detect and disrupt irregular people movements throughout the region.

An amount of $5.0 million of this funding will be offset from the provision for expanded aid funding held in the contingency reserve. The remaining $6.3 million will be absorbed from within existing resources of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Humanitarian Settlement Services — bridging visa stream

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -3.6 -2.9 -2.7 -4.0

The Government will save $13.1 million over four years by capping the maximum level of humanitarian settlement services to asylum seekers who are found to be owed protection, have been granted a permanent visa and who have been living independently in the community for more than six months. This measure recognises the settlement supports already available to this client group while in the community on bridging visas.

The Government will also continue with the youth sub plan and onshore orientation components of the program.

For more information on humanitarian settlement services see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Savings from this measure will be redirected towards other Government priorities.

Migration Health Requirement — reforms

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.4
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.4
Department of Health and Ageing - .. 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total - Expense - 0.4 0.9 1.4 1.9

The Government will reform the health criteria that applicants must meet to obtain an Australian visa, at a cost of $4.6 million over four years.

Under current arrangements, visa applicants are refused entry to Australia where the estimated costs of treating a pre‑existing health condition are above the Significant Cost Threshold set at $21,000.

The reform will increase the Significant Cost Threshold from $21,000 to $35,000 to better reflect current health costs, and remove the requirement for offshore Humanitaritan Visa applicants to meet the Significant Cost Threshold criteria. This reform will commence on 1 July 2012.

These reforms are in response to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration on the Migration Treatment of Disability: Enabling Australia.

Migration Program — allocation of places for 2012‑13

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 5.7 8.7 10.3 11.1
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 3.6 3.7 4.5 4.6

The Government will increase the 2012‑13 Migration Program to 190,000 places, up from 185,000 places for 2011‑12. The program will comprise 129,250 skilled stream places, 60,185 family stream places and 565 special eligibility places.

The increase in the skilled stream reflects the ongoing demand for skilled labour in parts of the economy. The increase in the family program will assist in meeting the continued demand for family stream visas. A strong family migration program is an important factor in attracting and retaining skilled migrants.

The cost of this measure reflects the direct impact of changes in the Permanent Migration Program for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Any consequential impact from changes in the Permanent Migration Program on other Government programs have been reflected in the estimates separately.

See also the related expense measure titled Migration Health Requirement — reforms.

Permanent Employer Sponsored Program — reforms

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $1.3 million over two years to improve the Permanent Employer Sponsored Program. This builds on the 2011‑12 Budget announcement that the Government would streamline and simplify the pathway to permanent residency for Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) visa holders.

The reforms will streamline six visa classes to two (the Employer Nomination Scheme and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme), amend a range of eligibility requirements for the visa classes, and consolidate the existing sponsored occupation lists into one. These reforms will take effect from 1 July 2012.

For further information see the related 2011‑12 measure titled Initiatives to Increase Migration to Regional Australia.

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

Reintegration assistance program — continuation

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 1.7 1.9 2.0 2.2

The Government will provide $7.7 million over four years to continue the Reintegration Assistance Program established in 2010.

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

Streamlining protection visa processes

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal - 5.6 - - -
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - -8.6 - - -
Total - Expense - -3.1 - - -
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal - 3.1 - - -
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -
Total - Capital - 3.1 - - -

The Government will provide $8.6 million in 2012‑13 (including $3.1 million in capital funding) to streamline processes for granting and reviewing protection visas for both boat and air arrivals, using current onshore arrangements for protection visa applications and merits review through the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal.

The cost of this measure will be offset by redirecting funding from the body formerly responsible for protection visa application and merits review for boat arrivals, the Independent Protection Assessment Office (IPAO).

Unaccompanied humanitarian minors — Supervision and welfare

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - 12.2 8.1 - -

The Government will provide $20.2 million over two years for the supervision and welfare of unaccompanied humanitarian minors (UHMs).

The UHM program provides settlement services to non‑citizens under the age of 18 years who arrive in Australia without a guardian, and who are the recipient of a Humanitarian Visa.

Virtual English Tuition for Migrants

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Immigration and Citizenship - - - - -

The Government will provide $5.0 million over three years to pilot virtual English tuition via the National Broadband Network (NBN). Starting in 2012, the service will support new migrants living in Regional Australia with a distance learning package that complements the Adult Migrant English Program.

The trial will have two phases. Phase one will provide enhanced distance learning online resources for teachers and home tutors while phase two will deliver interactive services in communities connected to the NBN.

The program will be reviewed in 2013‑14 to test the viability of expanding the services nationwide.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Further information can be found in the joint press release of 7 February 2012 issued by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

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