A new Pacific Engagement Visa will be available from July 2023.

In July 2023, Australia will launch a new permanent visa ballot system inspired by a similar New Zealand model for Pacific workers and the green card US Diversity Visa Lottery. The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs confirmed last February 16 that the previously announced permanent visa ballot system would start in July 2023, along with introducing a new Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV).

The Pacific Eligibility Visa (PEV) will allow up to 3,000 visas to be granted next program year to passport holders from the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

A Partner Visa application can include the partner and dependent children as dependents. The requirements for the principal applicant are:

  • Must be aged between 18 and 45 years,
  • Have a formal job offer in Australia
  • Meet English language, character, and health requirements.

With a need for a formal job offer, registrations will be stacked with applicants already in Australia and holding subclass 403—temporary Work (International Relations) visas under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility stream.

The Department of Home Affairs will select candidates randomly to apply for a Permanent Entry Visa. Unlike the SkillSelect program, applicants chosen to apply for a PEV will be done so randomly.

SkillSelect, the online visa application system, is not a random process. It uses computer-generated invitations to applicants based on the points earned in their EOI or during pandemics when humans assist the process.

In response to the random nature of the program, new legislation has been introduced in parliament to amend the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and embed this system.

New laws will create a pre-application process to select participants from a pool of registrations randomly. The registration period will be open for an infinite or finite amount of time, and the selection period can also extend if necessary. A computer program will randomly choose ballots, but ballots can also be conducted without computers.

The Minister will set the requirements for any pre-application process through a legislative instrument. This could include the requirement to hold a valid passport, be over a certain age, and have a good level of English.

There can be more than one pre-application process running simultaneously, meaning more than one ballot for more than one visa. Each pre-application process costs $200, and you must pay at the time of registration.

A further Migration (Visa Pre-application Process) Charge Bill 2023 is being introduced to allow a charge of at most $100 indexed annually, but which can also be zero. In contrast, submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) with SkillSelect is free.

Will we see more lottery-style visas in the future, with costs associated with participating?

If passed, the legislation would certainly allow it.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help you out.

Australia Migration Services have been helping migrants with their migration and work needs for the past decade, and we’re proud to be able to offer you the same service.

We hope that this guide has helped you in your journey to Australia, and we wish you all the best!