|The following main points have been gleaned from the Commonwealth Budget announcement. As more detail and the implications of the Budget measures emerge, Austral Migration Consultancy will advise our clients.A preliminary reading of the DIAC Portfolio Budget Statements 2014-15 reveals:DIBP and Customs become Australian Border Force from 1/7/2015
From 1 July 2015, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will become a single agency: Australian Border Force.2014-15 Migration programme size
The 2014-15 Migration Programme remains the same at 190,000 places and maintains the composition of 128,550 Skilled Stream places, 60,885 Family Stream places and 565 Special Eligibility Stream places.
There will be additional partner and child places in the Family Stream.
The Budget Papers go on to say that “The additional partner and child places will be made available as a result of the cessation of new applications from the other family and parent (non-contributory) places”. This cessation will also enable faster processing of existing applications.
The Skilled Stream will continue to focus on Australia’s longer term skills needs,including addressing skills shortages in regional Australia.
The Government will provide $1.3 million over four years to extend the streamlined visa processing arrangements to students enrolled in Advanced Diploma level Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses at eligible TAFEs and other education providers.
This measure will support the growth of Australia’s international VET sector and increase revenue by an estimated $6.7 million over three years from 2015-16.
Outreach Officer Programme
The Outreach Officer Programme will cease from 1 July 2014.
The Government will expand the Offshore Biometrics Programme beyond the 20 countries where it currently operates and introduce user-pays arrangements for visa services and biometric collection services with third-party service delivery partners.
Refugees and Humanitarian
The Government will provide $27.8 million in 2014-15 to fund the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme and the Community Assistance Support Programme to provide eligible asylum seekers with support while their immigration status is being resolved.
Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors
The Government will provide $27.3 million over two years for the supervision and welfare of unaccompanied humanitarian minors.
Temporary Protection Visa holders
Temporary Protection Visa holders will have access to Torture and Trauma Support and Complex Case Support where appropriate, and will be provided the full range of employment services support through Job Services Australia to assist them in gaining employment. However, in return for receiving income support, temporary visa holders will be subject to mutual obligation requirements, such as Job Search or Work for the Dole.
Illegal Maritime Arrivals
Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) who have remained in Australia will be subject to a range of compliance, removal and network management arrangements. 4000 additional family stream places allocated to Illegal Maritime Arrivals will be removed.
$574.1 million over five years from 2013-14 will be used to provide support services to Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) found to be owed protection, but these will be accompanied by strengthened mutual obligation arrangements for IMAs.
The Government will also introduce a Mutual Obligations Community Engagement Activities Pilot for 300 to 400 IMAs who hold a Bridging Visa. The Pilot is intended to provide participants with skills to enhance work readiness if they are found to be owed protection and will be delivered in three streams: workplace readiness activities; community improvement activities; and community volunteering activities.
There will be an upgrade of essential infrastructure on Christmas Island which will support the rapid transfer of Illegal Maritime Arrivals to Offshore Processing Centres within 48 hours. This includes funding for health infrastructure which will reduce the need to transfer detainees to the Australian mainland for assessment and treatment of health issues.
The Government will provide $2.6 million in 2014-15 to fund access to full-time school education for all school aged Illegal Maritime Arrivals on Christmas Island.
Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS)
Savings of $2.1 million over four years will be made by removing Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) support for non-Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) onshore applicants who seek a merits review of their negative primary protection decision. IAAAS would remain in place for non-IMA onshore applicants during their primary processing.
The Government will achieve savings of $77.5 million over five years from 2013-14 by renegotiating and consolidating offshore processing centre service provider contracts
The Government will achieve savings of $283.3 million over four years by consolidating the onshore immigration detention network by closing nine detention facilities (Aqua and Lilac; Curtin; Darwin Airport Lodge; Inverbrackie; Leonora; Northern; Pontville; Port Augusta; and Scherger), extending the leases for Blaydin and Wickham Point facilities and upgrading some remaining facilities.
Regional Cooperation Arrangements
The Government will provide $86.8 million over three years from 2013-14 to fund Regional Cooperation Arrangements (RCA) in Indonesia and to manage their asylum seeker populations.
Displaced Persons Programme
The Government will achieve savings of $38.4 million over five years by ceasing the Displaced Persons Programme from 2013-14.