Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2024 – Exit Tax to Increase

The Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2024 (Bill) has passed both houses of parliament and received royal assent on 8 March 2024.  This act will commence on 1 July 2024.

As noted previously, the passenger movement charge will be increasing from $60 to $70, per person.  This tax is usually included in the price of flight tickets and the carrier forward this charge to the Department.

The increased passenger movement charge will apply to persons who depart Australia for another country on or after 1 July 2024.  However, the previous passenger movement charge of $60 will continue to apply if the person departs Australia using a ticket sold or an authority equivalent to a ticket issued before 1 July 2024.

Further Information on this Bill can be found on the Australian Parliament House website.

End of Two-Year Extension of Post-Study Work Rights

The Department of Education has officially stated on its website that the extension of post-study work rights, which previously allowed for international graduates with select degrees an additional two years on their Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), will cease as of mid-2024.

The Department has confirmed that there is currently no set date for when they will remove this 2-year extension, but they will update the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Education’s websites to provide further information.

The Australian government initially implemented this extension of 485 visas on 1 July 2023 in recognition of our skill shortages.  The durations of post-study work 485 visas were extended for undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students enrolled in courses specified by the Department, allowing them the opportunity to remain in the country for periods ranging from 4 to 6 years. The select courses were based on verified skill shortages in certain sectors and industries, including IT, nursing, education, etc.  The extension aimed to strengthen the pipeline to skilled work, allowing graduate sufficient time to accumulate skills and experience in their target industry, and leading to other work visa pathways, such as employer-sponsored visas like, Subclass 482 and 186, and general skilled migration Subclass 189 and 190 pathways.

However, the recent announcement from the Australian government indicates a swift reversal of this policy.  As per the latest update released last week, post-study work 485 visa durations will now revert to the original 2 to 3 years for eligible candidates, signalling a change in the immigration landscape for international graduates seeking employment opportunities in Australia.

As part of the Migration Strategy, the Department is moving away from the 485 visa and focusing on overhauling the employer-sponsored work visa program.  One of the aims for shortening the 485 visa duration is to “end settings that allow graduates to prolong their stay in Australia when they have fewer prospects of becoming permanent residents”.  This is going in the direct opposite direction of the initial intention behind the 2-year extension, which was to strengthen the pipeline to skilled work. Instead, the Department is focusing on attracting skilled and experienced workers, while tightening the pathways from international students to work visa/permanent residency.

More major changes are expected this year, particularly in student visas and skilled visas, as we see the Department put into place the reforms and recommendations outlined in its Migration Strategy.

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