1. How was the Migration Program for 2021-22 developed?

The Migration Program is set annually as part of the Federal Budget process. The current program year will run from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. The primary aim of the Government when planning Australia’s Migration Program is to balance economic, social and demographic objectives and priorities.

For the development of the 2021-22 Migration Program, the Department of Home Affairs consulted widely with State and Territory Government representatives, academia, industry stakeholders and community organizations. In January 2021, the Department of Home Affairs also published a discussion paper on the Migration Program to consider public submissions.

The current Migration Program has been designed to support Australia’s economic growth, as well as the country’s continued recovery from COVID-19.

2. Why have the Migration Program planning levels not changed for the year 2021-22?

The 2021-22 Migration Program has been retained with the same policy settings as for the previous program year. The planning ceiling has been retained at 160,000 places to build on Australia’s success last year in managing the impacts of COVID-19. The aim has also been to maximize flexibility for increased migration in line with changing health, economic and border conditions.

However, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs will at his option redistribute places between Skill stream visa categories in response to public health, economic and labor market requirements. This will ensure that migration to Australia remains responsive to changes in economic activity and border restrictions.

3. Will other policy settings change in the 2021-22 Migration Program?

No, in order to support Australia’s ongoing recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 the program settings, priorities and planning levels put in place for the previous year’s Migration Program will remain in place in the 2021-22 program year as well.

However, as stated in the previous question, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs may at his discretion exercise his authority to redistribute places between Skill stream visa categories, if he deems it necessary.

4. Which visa categories will be prioritized in the 2021-22 Migration Program?

As informed earlier, the 2021-22 Migration Program Skill stream will continue to focus on visa categories that will help Australia’s economy rebound from COVID-19. Priority will be given to those categories that provide Australia with investment, jobs and critical skills.

The 3 categories given priority within the Skill stream of the 2021-22 Migration Program are:

Business Innovation and Investment Program

Global Talent Program

Employer-Sponsored Program

Within the 2021-22 Migration Program Family stream, the Partner visa category has been allocated the greatest share of places, keeping in mind the strong economic and demographic contributions to Australia by the migrating community.

Priority processing of onshore Partner visa applications will continue, which will help deliver greater employment certainty for migrants and stabilize Net Overseas Migration (NOM) by retaining migrants in Australia.

There will also be prioritization of Partner visa applications in regional areas to assist in meeting labor shortages and contribute to economic recovery in regional Australia.

5. Will visa applicants who are already in Australia continue to be prioritized in 2021-22?

Yes, under the 2021-22 Migration Program, there will continue to be priority processing of onshore applications for Skill and Family stream visas.

Prioritizing onshore applicants will provide greater certainty to visa applicants in Australia, and help the country to retain highly skilled migrants, facilitate family reunions and help in stabilizing NOM.

6. Will the 2021-22 Migration Program settings affect my existing visa application?

No, visa applications that have already been lodged will continue to be processed according to visa processing timeframes.

7. What occupations are being prioritized for processing?

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies 19 occupations that fill critical skills needs to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Employer-Sponsored visa applications which have an occupation on the PMSOL will be given priority processing.

Non-citizens who are working in critical sectors may also be prioritized for visa processing in other skilled visa categories. Temporary visa holders may also be considered for travel exemptions to enter Australia.

These critical sectors include specialist medical services, supply of essential goods and services (such as medical technology, telecommunications, engineering, mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, and the maritime industry), delivery of services that are critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing and media production), and also critical skills in religious fields.

8. What are the key sectors for the Global Talent Program?

The Global Talent Program provides attracting skills for Australia of high-caliber professionals to live permanently in Australia and work in 10 key industries.

These key industries include:


agri-food and agtech


health industries

defense, advanced manufacturing and space

circular economy


infrastructure and tourism

financial services and fintech