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Australia overhauls immigration system with new Innovation Visa

The Australian government announced on Tuesday the introduction of a new innovation visa to attract exceptionally talented workers, replacing a controversial investor migrant program deemed economically ineffective.

The changes, revealed in the annual budget by Treasurer Jim Chalmers, form part of a comprehensive overhaul of Australia's migration system aimed at drawing skilled workers and top talent while curbing overall immigration.

The new visa will replace the Global Talent visa program, which is set to end in late 2024. The government emphasized its goal "to target exceptionally talented migrants who will drive growth in sectors of national importance."

The termination of the Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP), also known as the golden visa, marks a significant shift as it previously offered a path to permanent residency through investment.

This decision comes amid increasing demands for the centre-left Labor government to limit migration. A post-pandemic surge in students and other arrivals has worsened an already strained rental market, contributing to higher inflation rates.

In response, the government is intensifying scrutiny on student visas and will implement a ballot system for the popular work and holiday visa for applicants from China, Vietnam, and India, starting in the fiscal year ending June 2025.

These measures are anticipated to halve net overseas immigration to 260,000 arrivals in 2024-25, down from 528,000 in 2022-23.