September 2023 Australian Migration Update – New Visa Planning Levels Announced

Key Takeaways

  • New 2023-24 planning levels set at 190,000 places, a reduction of 5000 from last year
  • Skilled visa numbers for Subclass 189, Subclass 190 and Subclass 491 reduced slightly, GTI numbers maintained at 5000
  • No new allocations for BIIP program. Numbers cut to 0.
  • Most family visa numbers maintained. Parent visa numbers boosted to 8500


Hey there! We wanted to share some of the latest announcements about Australia's permanent Migration Program for 2023-24. As you might've heard, there has been some major changes to the Migration Program Planning Levels for this year as compared to last. The 2023-24 migration program has been set at 190,000 places. This represents a reduction of 5000 places from last year's levels. The program is divided into the Skill stream, Family stream, and Special Eligibility stream. This post discusses the allocation of visas across these streams.

Skilled Independent Visa Category

The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program has allocated 30,375 places for Skilled Independent visas. This is comparable to the 2022-23 program allocation of 32,100 places. The smaller planning level for this category in 2023-24 reflects the closure of the New Zealand stream of the subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa from 1 July 2023. Global Talent visa has been spared any cuts but has also not received any additional love from the Department. GTI planning level is maintained at 5000. We think this is really interesting and hope you do too!

Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) Visa Category

The biggest shock has been felt by BIIP visa applicants. The Government has drastically reduced the planning level for the BIIP from 5000 visas in 2022-23 to 1900 visas for the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program. In fact, these 1900 visas will be for those who have already lodged their BIIP visas and are waiting to be processed. No new allocations have been given for the BIIP to any state or territory. We're hoping that the Department will reexamine their allocation for the BIIP and come up with new allocations in the next financial year.

Family Stream

The Government has maintained the size of the family stream, which allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with their family members and contribute to stronger social cohesion outcomes. The Partner visa category is the largest within the family stream. From 2022-23, the Partner program moved to a demand-driven model. The size of the Parent program increased from 4500 to 8500 places. We think this is great news! Other Family (the Aged Dependent Relative, Remaining Relative and Carer programs) visa category was maintained at 500 places. The Child visa program allows persons to sponsor their dependent or adopted child or an orphaned relative. The Child program has been demand-driven since 1 July 2019 and remains set at 3000 places for planning purposes. This is all really important information for those looking to reunite with their families in Australia.

Migration Strategy

The Australian Government recognizes that migration is essential to help Australia become one of the safest and most prosperous countries in the world. The government is seriously focusing on clearing backlogs, before releasing its final Migration Strategy. The Parkinson Review of immigration covered many issues ranging from Australia's reliance on temporary immigration, skills lists and care shortages, immigration backlogs, and even the DHA's antiquated IT systems.

The Government plans to release its final Migration Strategy later this year. The precursor to this strategy is documented in the strategy outline paper that was released in April 23 titled “A Migration System for a More Prosperous and Secure Australia.” This policy shift plans to prioritize the migrants that Australia needs to enhance its economic prosperity and security. The Government plans to reform the way Australia selects those who are offered Permanent Residency. These reforms will include the radical reshaping of the Global Talent and Business Innovation and Investment Programs. The aim is to build a new and simple pathway to attract the migrants that Australia needs to drive innovation. The outline of the Government's Migration Strategy is an interesting read, and the projected structural reforms do present constructive changes to the migration system that are designed to benefit both Australia and the migrants.


We hope you found this information helpful and informative! The 2023-24 permanent Migration Program is aimed at addressing skill shortages and attracting specialists to Australia. The program is composed of the Skill stream, Family stream, and Special Eligibility stream. The Skilled Independent visa category has been allocated 30,375 places, and the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visa category has been reduced to 1900 visas. The family stream has been maintained, with the Partner visa category being the largest within the stream. The program will help address the challenges of an ageing population, boost productivity, and support the economy as it transitions to net-zero emissions. The Government will continue to manage the number of visas on-hand by extending funding for 500 visa processing officers, and upgrading existing visa ICT systems to improve visa service delivery efficiency and increase Australia's attractiveness in the global race for talent.

We are looking forward to the release of the final Migration Strategy later this year. The government has committed to working on the policies and consulting with stakeholders on the refinements to be made.

Stay tuned for more updates in the Australian migration landscape. Meanwhile if you have any questions or concerns regarding your visa options, feel free to get in touch.

Atul Pandey

Atul has spent half his life migrating from one country to another. He moved from India to the US on a student visa to pursue his Master of Science from Penn State University. After spending a decade in the US, Atul migrated to Australia as a Permanent Resident. He is an entrepreneur and is the founder of Atul is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN:2016128). Reach him via email: