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Fact Sheet 20 - Migration Programme planning levels

Australia's permanent immigration programme has two components:

  • The migration component consists of skill stream migrants, family stream migrants and special eligibility migrants.
  • The humanitarian component is for refugees and others in humanitarian need.

The planning level for the 2014-15 Migration Programme is set at 190 000 places.

The Humanitarian Programme is set at 13 750 places.

Information about the Humanitarian Programme is available on Fact Sheet 60 - Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Programme.

Migration Programme

The Migration Programme is designed to meet Australia's economic and social needs. The total programme places are broken down into planning levels for each stream of the programme and visa category.

The 2013-14 Migration Programme's 190 000 places comprise:

  • 128 550 places for skilled migrants including employer sponsored migrants, general skilled migrants and business migrants
  • 60 885 places for family migrants who are sponsored by family members
  • 565 places for special eligibility migrants, who include former permanent residents and have maintained close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia
  • The skill stream comprises around 68 per cent of the programme, while the family stream comprises 32 per cent. 

See: Migration Programme Statistics

Programme range

The Migration Programme is set annually, following broad consultation across Australia, and taking into account community views, economic and labour force forecasts, international research, Net Overseas Migration and internal and external modelling.  The Migration Programme benefits Australia both socially, through the reunification of families, and economically, through addressing immediate and future skill shortages in the workforce. 

A number of factors will influence how the visa categories are distributed within the final programme, including:

  • the number of applications made in categories that are in high demand, such as partner, child and sponsored skilled categories
  • the number of applicants who take up places in state/territory and regional nominated skilled migration categories
  • the extent of national skill shortages and the ability to attract migrants to fill these vacancies
  • the flow of high standard applicants for skilled migration through SkillSelect.


SkillSelect helps manage skilled migration visa processing by selecting skilled independent migrants at the levels in which they are needed by the economy.

Invitations are issued to the best available prospective migrants who have expressed an interest on SkillSelect, in levels that reflect the government's annual migration planning levels.


A number of visa classes can be capped. This means when the number of visas set by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection within a class has been reached for that programme year, no further visas can be granted.

More information is available on FactSheet 21 – Managing the Migration Programme.

Fact sheet 20. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.