Reduce taxable income requirement for applying 191 visa

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The legislation

On 3rd October 2019, the Department of Home Affairs announced that the stipulated income threshold for new subclass 491 regional visa holders to apply for permanent residency through a subclass 191 visa will be having a taxable income of $53,900 for 3 years.

Under the current new requirements, the taxable income for a new 491 holder who is seeking a pathway for their permanent residency will be much higher than a reasonable temporary resident who residing in regional Australia can earn from an ordinary employment.

The survey

We have conducted an independent survey towards the new purposed income threshold within a group of potential 491 visa applicants(Currently over 1000 entries) and the result may be summarised as follows:

l   More than 85% of candidates do not meet the purposed income threshold by their current employment;

l   More than 80% of candidates who are planning to apply a new 491 visa will change their plan if the purposed income threshold comes into effect;

l   The vast majority of candidates consider a range of taxable income between$30,000 and $45,000 is more achievable than the purposed income threshold.

Who will be affected and what are adverse consequences

All potential applicants of new temporary regional 491 visas and permanent 191 visas will be affected.

The purpose income threshold is considered by the vast majority of potential 491 visa applicants as unreasonable. This level of income requirement will make these applicants being undermined in their option of becoming a permanent residency. By quoting the National President of MIA,  Mr. John Hourigan, that this proposed income threshold will result in “ … many of these visa holders may never be able to meet this threshold requirement to progress to permanent residency, creating an underclass of migrant workers in regional areas …” and “… these visa conditions will create an underclass of ‘permanently temporary’ visa holders …”

Also, the regional Australia where is desperately demanding of new migrants to contribute to their local economy will also be affected.

According to the MIA’s statistics, the majority of jobs that in regional Australia fall within retail, tourism and hospitality sections and are predominantly for part-time, seasonal or casual workers. This is to say, visa holders of the new 491 visa may need to be forced to work for extra hours or more than one job to reach the purposed income threshold.

Mr. Hourigan has also mentioned that “… while the Government claims these visas are designed to address regional skills shortages, grow Australia’s regional areas and reduce metropolitan congestion, these visa holders are likely to be on the lookout for other non-regional visas that will allow them to fulfill their permanent settlement dreams …”

Therefore, such adverse consequences will, undoubtedly, be contrary to the purpose of creation of the new regional visa systems and is not fit for its original purpose that lead new migrant to contribute to the development of regional Australia.

Our Appeal

We demand that the Department of Home Affairs to reconsider the income threshold for new 491 visa holders to be eligible for applying for a new 191 permanent visa.

We demand that the current purposed amount to be reduced to a more reasonable amount, for example, an amount between $30,000 and $45,000,