This program has been designed to address skillsets that are difficult to find or develop in Australia.  The Australian Government announced that the planning level for the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program will be set at 190,000 places.

Visa Stream Visa Category 2023-24 Planning Levels
Skill Employer-Sponsored                                       36,825
Skilled    Independent                                       30,375
Regional                                       32,300
State/Territory    Nominated                                       30,400
Business    Innovation & Investment                                         1,900
Global    Talent (Independent)                                         5,000
Distinguished    Talent                                            300
Skill Total                                      137,100
Family Partner1​                                       40,500
Parent                                         8,500
Child1​                                         3,000
Other    Family                                            500
Family Total                                       52,500
Special    Eligibility                                            400
Total Migration Program                                    190,000
Source: Department of Home Affairs


While building a domestic pipeline of highly skilled workers, the government is confident that permanent Migration Program will help:

  • build resilience
  • boost productivity and
  • support the economy as it transitions to net-zero emissions.

You may ask, “is bringing so many people into the country every year feasible and beneficial to Australia?”

There is no cut-and-dried answer to that. However, a well-targeted, skills focussed Migration Program supplements the cohort of working-age people. It helps boost participation rates and the size of the labour force. Migration reduces the average age of the population and slows the rate of population ageing. This is because migrants are, on average, younger than the existing Australian population.

The Migration Program planning levels as announced in the Federal Budget has the following composition:

  • Skill stream (137,100 places, approximately 72% of the program) – Its main objective is to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia.
  • Family stream (52,500 places, approximately 28% of the program) – Of this stream:
    • 40,500 Partner visas are estimated for 2023-24 – this category is demand driven and not subject to a ceiling.
    • 3,000 Child visas are estimated for 2023-24 – this category is demand driven and not subject to a ceiling.
  • Special Eligibility stream (400 places) – this stream covers visas for those in special circumstances, including permanent residents returning to Australia after a period overseas.

Salient features of the program:

Skilled Independent visa category

The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has allocated 30,375 places for Skilled Independent visas.

​From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa. These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001. Protected SCV holders will continue to be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship.

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visa category

The Government has reduced the planning level for the BIIP from 5,000 visas in 2022-23 to 1,900 visas for the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program. This is to ensure a greater focus on addressing immediate workforce shortages.

Global Talent visa category

The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has maintained 5,000 places for the Global Talent Visa (GTV) Program.

Family stream

For the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program the Government has maintained the planning levels for the family stream. The size of the Parent program remains at 8,500 places while the Other Family (the Aged Dependent Relative, Remaining Relative and Carer programs) visa category will be maintained at 500 places. The Partner visa category is the largest within the family stream and remains capped at 40,500 places.

The Child visa program remains set at 3,000 places. The Australian Government prioritises the reunification of a child with an Australian parent or family sponsor.

Continued efforts to manage the delivery of 2023-24 Migration Program

The Government will continue efforts to manage the number of visas on-hand by extending funding for 500 visa processing officers. It will provide an additional $48.1 million over 12 months.

State and territory nominated visa categories – nomination allocations

Nomination allocations for the 2023-24 program year have not yet been finalized. Debika Migration Services (DMS) will provide an update once allocation for each jurisdiction have been published by the Department.

​Net Overseas Migration – relationship with the Permanent ​Migration Program

NOM is forecast to be 315,000 in 2023–24. The permanent Migration Program is only one component of net overseas migration (NOM). NOM includes temporary migration, such as Working Holiday Makers and Students. It also includes Australian citizens, New Zealanders, and Humanitarian migrants. Around 60% of visas under the permanent Migration Program are granted to migrants already onshore and in the community, residing in established households at the time of visa grant. This minimises the permanent Migration Program’s near-term impact on housing, infrastructure, and services.


Amitava Deb


DMS Migration Services