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How the size and structure of the permanent migration program is determined

With the government soon to announce the 2012–13 Migration Program, it is timely to explain how the government plans for and determines the program’s size and composition. 

There are more people wanting to migrate to Australia permanently than the country can accommodate. To manage the number of people granted the privilege to call Australia home, the government sets annual migration program planning levels (See Factsheet 20 on the department’s website for more information). The planning levels set the size and composition of the intake of permanent migrants and are informed by a number of factors that include: 

  • immediate and forecast long-term social, demographic and economic trends and government policies with respect to migration and population
  • expected demand for skilled labour in key occupations and industries over the medium-to-long-term
  • estimated demand for places within the family stream, in particular the partner and child categories
  • the net gain of population through immigration and emigration as measured by what is known as net overseas migration.

Each year the department conducts nation-wide consultations to seek the views of the Australian public, state and territory governments, unions, peak industry groups, community groups and other key stakeholders. The input gathered during these consultations, as well as considerations arising out of the factors listed above are used to inform the department’s submission to government on the size and composition of the Migration Program for the following year.

Keep an eye out for part two of this blog, which will elaborate on the important role permanent migration has played in the growth and evolution of Australian society, as well as provide an overview of the 2012–13 Migration Program.

Comments (20)

Hi Marek,

I tried to find the number of family sponsored (subclass 886) visa planned for the 2012-13 financial year, but I can't find any link. Would you help me to find the link? Thanks


Hi Marek,

Now Budget is announced and planned level for next FY 2012-13 is 190k total. Would you be able to comment what will happen to un-finalized applications over above planned level of 2011-12.

e.g. if State Sponsored application exceeds 24k by June 30, 2012. Will extra applications over and above 24k will find a place in next year's Planned level for State Sponsored quota.

Thanks in Advance.

With best regards

Hi Hasan,

Once a planning level is met for a particular category, administrative capping results in any surplus applications being queued until the commencement of the following program year. Applications are still processed to the grant stage, but a grant will not occur until places become available in the next year's program.

Hope that helps!

Sure this is helps. Thanks a Lot for answering.

And what if the category is planned to cease next year program. Will these be mapped against closely related VISA subclass like 175 & 885 (closely matching 189), 176 & 886 State Sponsor (matches 190) so on..

Hi Hasan,

There is no plan to discontinue The State/Territory Sponsored Category.

Dear Marek,
I am wondering if there is any plan for allocating the number of grants over each month. Once a program year's cap (occupation ceiling)/total size of migration is decided, I think it wouuld be fair to allocate it evenly over 12 months, especially with this new Skillsselect system. Otherwise, we might see the same situation as Candadian immigration programs - some categories(occupations) are always full on the first day/week of a new program year(i.e. July 1). This may disadvantage graduates of December to graduates of July, for example, (Because July graduates will be on the higher rank, if they hold the same pass mark(the majority will have 65 points) but submit 6 months earlier than December graduates).
Please, let me know if there will be any planned, oragnized *invitation* allocation in the unit of month.
Thank you for your attention.
If this comment is not eligible to be pulbished, please reply to me via email.

Hi David,

That's an excellent question. As you know, planning levels are set on an annual basis. Allocations for various categories are distributed throughout the department's service delivery network, including posts in Australia's overseas missions. The network prioritises and processes applications according to their resources and delivers the allocated places over the full program year.

Dear Marek,

I have read Mr Bowen's speech about 2012–13 migration program. Could you tell me how many places are reserved for the Australian Sponsored migration scheme (skilled) in 2012–13 migration program?Thanks.

your sincerely,


Skilled Australian Sponsored visa (886) applications are closed for this program year. Does that mean it will get start allocating from 1st July (start of the new program year) or is it uncertain when they will start it. Also I know that currently they are only allocating onshore application. Will they continue to do so?

Dear Marek,

How many places are allocated for non-contributory parent migration visa for 2012-13? Given the high demand and extremely long queue of this category, will the department consider increase the cap?


Hi Han,

The number of parent (non-contributory) places in 2012-13 will be 2150, an increase of 150 over 2011-12.

Hi Marek,

Are you please able to advise how many Relative Sponsored Visas have been processed so far in this financial year that is from July 11 till May 12.

This information is really of high relevance and I would really appreciate if you could just provide a number.

Hi there,
I am about to apply for 886 on Saturday as I got my WA state sponsorship on last Friday through online. Will I be effected with these recent changes?


Hi Nizam,

The 2012-13 program will not affect whether you are eligibile for a subclass 886 visa or not.

Hello, is there any news when the new SOL list will be out? It was released in May in 2010 and in June last year, so I was wondering if it would be out soon. :)