What’s new with Australian visas?

What’s new with Australian visas?

Insights for aspiring expats: Migration plans for 2024 and the impact on Australia’s housing market

If you’ve landed on this article, we’ll assume you’re busy crisscrossing the internet in search of answers to all your Australian visa-related questions.

Because the Australian government continually adapts its visa policies to meet the evolving needs of its economy and society, aspiring expatriates must stay informed about any upcoming changes or reforms in the immigration system. Regularly checking official government sources will ensure you are well-prepared and can plan your relocations accordingly.

In this article, we’ll delve into all the latest visa news in Australia, including the types of visas experiencing shifts in issuance rates, the government’s plans for the future, and how these developments may be impacting housing markets in specific regions.

Let’s look at the numbers

Earlier this year, the Australian government announced that the planning for the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program will be set at 190,000 places. This compares to the total of 195,000 places allocated for the 2022/2023 period.

The Migration Program is focused on addressing skills shortages in the local workforce by attracting workers with specialist skill sets. The program builds resilience, boosts productivity and supports the local economy.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program is composed as follows: around 140,000 places are allocated for the Skill stream, around 50,000 places for the Family stream (this category includes around 40,000 Partner visas and 3,000 Child visas, among others), and 400 places for the Special Eligibility stream.

The Skill stream aims to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market; the Family stream enables Australians to reunite with family members from abroad and support them in their journeys to citizenship; and the Special Eligibility stream is saved for those in special circumstances, such as permanent residents returning to Australia after a period overseas.​​​​

For detailed information about the number of places allocated per category, and how it compares to the previous year, visit this outline written by the Department of Home Affairs.

Overwhelmed by the numbers and statistics? Don’t worry! We’ll read the fine print so you don’t have to. Here are some key information points to know about the 2023/2024 permanent Migration Program:

  • The slightly reduced planning level for the Skilled Independent visa category is the result of the closure of the New Zealand stream of subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa from 1 July this year. This change is due to a new direct pathway to citizenship for Special Category visa holders who meet citizenship eligibility requirements.
  • To ensure smooth delivery of the 2023/2024 Migration Program, the Australian government will provide an additional $48.1 million over 12 months to extend funding for 500 visa processing officers.
  • The government is further investing $27.8 million over two years to upgrade existing visa ICT systems, which will enhance the efficiency of Australia’s visa service delivery.
  • The permanent Migration Program forms part of Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM), which also takes into account temporary migrants such as students and holiday workers, along with Australian citizens, New Zealanders and humanitarian migrants.
  • NOM is expected to be 315,000 in the 2023/2024 period, compared to the forecasted 400,000 in 2022/2023. NOM forecasts are said to return to their regular pre-pandemic patterns from 2024/2025.

How does the Migration Program impact Australia’s housing market?

The dynamics of visa issues are not isolated from the broader economic landscape, including the housing market. Despite Australia experiencing significant employment growth across various industries, the rental crisis poses a unique challenge. Job vacancies – and visa applications – have surged, but the pressing question remains: where will workers live, especially those unable or unwilling to purchase property?

We have previously written about Australia’s rental housing shortage, particularly in major cities like Perth and Melbourne. Australia is grappling with its lowest national rental vacancy rate in decades, signalling a rental crisis amidst a surge in employment rates. This scarcity has led to increased rental prices and heightened competition among tenants.

In a recent article published in Contact Magazine, Professor Cameron Parsell, Dr Ella Kuskoff and Professor Tim Reddel deep dive into Australia’s housing crisis, specifically in the Queensland region. They emphasise the urgent need to invest in a range of strategies to get more affordable and social housing on the ground. “The confronting reality is that the market will not provide sufficient supply of affordable and safe housing for all citizens, without a suite of legislative and financial policy mechanisms from government, at all three levels,” they write.

Several factors contribute to the saturated rental market. The exodus of Australians from capital cities to regional areas and the reopening of international borders have intensified demand. The return of expats, international students, and migrant workers is further straining rental conditions, especially in favoured relocation destinations.

Government initiatives and professional relocation support services, like those offered by Claymore Thistle, aim to help you with these issues and provide viable solutions for a smoother transition to life in Australia.

In closing

Navigating the complexities of visa applications is the stuff of nightmares. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all by yourself!

With the help of professional migration & relocation agents, you can simplify the process so that you can focus on the exciting part of the big move. On top of that, the Australian government warmly welcomes expats to join the local workforce. The visa system values families and social networks, therefore offering generous opportunities for the relocation of spouses, children, parents and other family members to Australia.

The adaptive visa policies, as outlined for the 2023/2024 Migration Program, reflect a strategic focus on addressing skills shortages and building resilience in the local workforce.

If you are ready to take the first step in your relocation to the Land Down Under, book a free consultation today to speak to one of our relocation experts. Still doing your research? Head over to our blog for all the best insider tips for moving to Australia.

Whether you are moving for work, study, or family reasons, Claymore Thistle will support you every step of the way!

The 7 Key Benefits of Using an Interior Designer When Relocating Homes 

The 7 Key Benefits of Using an Interior Designer When Relocating Homes 

Here at Claymore Thistle, we are driven to make relocating homes a smooth and enjoyable process for each and every client.  Continually thinking outside the box on how to bring valuable support to our clients unearthed our newest partnership with online Interior Design firm, Designbx. Kerena Berry, Director and Head Designer at Designbx shares the insightful benefits of using an interior designer when relocating, and how their expertise can transform your new home into a personalised and harmonious haven.

From packing and organising to finding a new place to call home, the process involves numerous decisions that can significantly impact your living environment. This is where an interior designer who specialises in relocations and product sourcing can become an invaluable asset. Let’s share how. 


1. Save Time and Reduce Stress:

Relocating is a time-consuming and stressful process. Investing in an interior designer can alleviate much of that burden by taking over the responsibility of designing your new home. Interior designers possess a deep understanding of design principles, space planning, colour schemes, materials, and trends. They hold the knowledge, experience, and resources to efficiently manage the entire design process, from conceptualisation to implementation. By entrusting the design to a professional, you can focus on other crucial aspects of the move, knowing that your new space will be beautifully designed and ready for you to settle into on arrival.

2. Tailored Design Solutions:

Interior designers are experts in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. When relocating, they can assess your new home’s layout, architectural elements, and personal style to develop a tailored design plan. They will consider your functional needs, preferences, and lifestyle, incorporating them into a cohesive design that reflects your unique personality. With an eye for detail and an understanding of design principles, interior designers can optimise your space and create a harmonious ambience throughout.

3. Cost-Effective Choices:

Contrary to popular belief, hiring an interior designer will more than likely save you money. With their industry connections, they can source materials, furniture, and accessories at discounted rates, which won’t be accessible to the general public. Designbx utilises our established connections within the industry to provide clients with cost-effective design options from 100’s of suppliers both locally and internationally. Additionally, interior designers have extensive knowledge about various brands and will guide you towards durable and high-quality products that align with your budget. By preventing costly mistakes and ensuring a well-planned design, they can help you make wise investment choices for your new home.

4. Access to Professional Network:

Interior designers have established relationships with contractors, artisans, and suppliers within the industry. When relocating, you may need reliable professionals to handle renovations, installations, or repairs. Your designer can tap into their network and recommend trustworthy experts, saving you the hassle of searching for reputable service providers on your own. This network also grants access to exclusive resources and unique design elements that can elevate the overall aesthetic of your new home.

5. Enhanced Functionality and Space Utilisation:

Moving into a new home presents an opportunity to rethink your living space and optimise functionality. An interior designer can assess your daily routines, storage needs, and traffic flow to design spaces that are efficient and practical. They can offer creative solutions to maximise storage, suggest layout modifications, and recommend furniture placement to ensure your new home is both visually appealing and highly functional.

6. Attention to Detail: 

Interior designers pay meticulous attention to details such as lighting, texture, proportions, and spatial relationships. They consider every aspect of the design, ensuring that all elements work harmoniously together. Designbx prides itself on its commitment to detail-oriented design, creating cohesive, personalised and well-executed interiors.

7. Value Addition: 

Well-designed spaces not only enhance the quality of living but also add value to the property. Whether it’s a residential or commercial project, a professionally designed space can increase its appeal, marketability, and potential resale value. Designbx understands the importance of creating spaces that have a lasting impact and maximise the value of the client’s investment.


Relocating homes is an ideal time to reimagine your living environment and create a space that truly feels like home. By enlisting the expertise of an interior designer, you can save time, reduce stress, and benefit from their tailored design solutions. 

Their professional network and cost-effective choices can help you make the most of your budget while ensuring high-quality results. Ultimately, an interior designer can transform your new house into a personalised sanctuary that reflects your style, enhances functionality, and sets the stage for a fulfilling and comfortable living experience.

The Claymore Thistle team believe so strongly in the value of investing in Interior Design that Director and owner Leona, is designing her new home with the Designbx Team – we look forward to sharing the amazing results in a follow-up blog. 


A Guide to Settling into Your New City

A Guide to Settling into Your New City

Moving to a new city can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. It’s a fresh start, a chance to explore new places, meet new people, and immerse yourself in a different culture. To make the most of this exciting chapter in your life, here are some simple tips that will help you settle in and have a blast in your new city.


  • Take Strolls and Bike Rides: Lace up your shoes or hop on a bike and start exploring your new city on foot. Walking or cycling allows you to intimately experience the streets, parks, and neighbourhoods around you. Take note of the charming cafes, local shops, and hidden gems you come across along the way. Not only will it help you familiarize yourself with the area, but you’ll also stumble upon delightful surprises that make your new city feel like home.


  • Join Local Groups: One of the quickest ways to build a social circle in your new city is by joining local groups and clubs. Whether you have a passion for sports, art, volunteering, or book clubs, there’s likely a community waiting for you. These groups provide a fantastic opportunity to meet people who share similar interests and forge meaningful connections. You’ll not only expand your social network but also gain insider knowledge about the city and its vibrant culture.


  • Attend Local Events: Make it a point to keep an eye on the city’s event calendar and mark down all the exciting happenings around town. From food festivals and music concerts to cultural exhibitions and farmers’ markets, these events offer a fantastic window into the city’s unique character. Attending local events will not only expose you to new experiences but also provide an opportunity to mingle with fellow residents and embrace the lively spirit of your new community.


  • Talk to Locals: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with locals you encounter in your daily life. Engage in small talk with your neighbours, chat with the friendly barista at your local coffee shop, or seek recommendations from shopkeepers. Locals are often the best source of insider tips, hidden gems, and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Their insights can help you uncover the city’s best-kept secrets and truly feel like a part of the community.


  • Use Online Resources: In this digital age, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to settling into a new city. Follow local social media pages, join online groups, and explore city-specific websites and forums. These platforms provide a wealth of information about events, activities, and resources available in your new home. They also offer an avenue to connect with fellow newcomers and long-time residents who are eager to share their experiences and insights.


At Claymore Thistle, we understand the challenges of relocating to a new city, which is why we make it our job to show you around and help you discover key areas that will make you feel at home. We’re always here to support you and provide helpful tips to help you get acclimated to your new surroundings!

How can Australia rethink its migration programme to attract and retain skilled workers?

How can Australia rethink its migration programme to attract and retain skilled workers?

Throughout the years, Australia has welcomed millions of people from all corners of the world, each bringing their own unique culture and contributions to Australian society.

Australia is currently facing various labour and skills shortages with the aftermath of the pandemic and further to this, long visa processing times are potentially causing Australia to lose valuable talent to other countries.

Major shortage of skilled migrants

Earlier this month, many were reminded of these challenges when Australian politician and Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil called for a fundamental overhaul of the country’s migration policy. According to O’Neil, Australia’s migration system is broken, complex, un-strategic, expensive, and slow — not serving the best interests of migrants nor the nation’s future.

O’Neil has been a vocal advocate for reforming the migration system in Australia, which she believes is outdated and in need of significant changes. At present, she is calling for a more targeted approach to migration, with a focus on industries where there are skills shortages.

Highly-valued migrants that the world is fighting for today, face bureaucratic delays coming to Australia while receiving red-carpet treatment in other countries, she said during an AFR workforce summit in Sydney. Despite a national shortage of nurses, for example, it could take an overseas nurse up to three years and as much as $20,000 to have their qualifications recognised in Australia.

Since 2005, O’Neil explained, the number of net-skilled permanent migrants coming into Australia has stayed roughly the same — around 30,000 each year. Over the same period, however, the rate of issuing temporary visas skyrocketed. Today, Australia has around two million temporary visa holders, which is double the number in 2007. (This excludes visitors and people travelling through the country.) Having around two million temporary migrants in a national population of about 26 million has major implications for the country’s economy and workforce success. This shift in direction of the migration programme happened without strategic planning or serious public policy discussions, O’Neil said, continuing to question whether the large group of temporary migrants in Australia are driving the country forward with the skills and capabilities needed for the future.

The lingering effects of the pandemic

Travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic cost Australia more than 80,000 people, marking the country’s first net migration decline since World War II. The reopening of borders has instigated a necessary increase in migrant arrivals, and is set to continue growing this year.

With the ongoing effects of the pandemic on travel and employment patterns, however, it is estimated that Australia will lose close to half a million migrants by 2025/2026. Many experts on the subject are pointing fingers at Australia’s failure to provide sufficient financial support for international workers during the pandemic. Considering the Australian economy’s reliance on international skills and talent, it is even more crucial for the government to rethink its approach to attracting, managing, and retaining migrants — permanent and skilled migrants, in particular.

Tapping into the potential of international students

O’Neil also emphasised the need for the Australian government to present the country in a more desirable light to tap into the potential of international students. Many international students studying in Australia are effectively forced to leave and implement their skills and education elsewhere. Out of those who stay in the country, around 40% do not live up to their full potential because they end up in jobs they are overqualified for. According to O’Neil, this is partly due to Australia’s inefficient system for integrating graduates into the workforce.

At the moment, Australia is enjoying an influx of international students who are eager to travel and explore after the limitations of remote, online education during the pandemic. Australia is thus in a prime position to provide international students with more incentive to remain in the country and use their skills and youthful energy to positively contribute to the country’s economic growth.

What is the solution?

I believe Australia’s migration system needs to be reformed to strike a better balance between competing interests — the country’s multicultural identity and economic growth on the one hand, and, on the other, concerns over the impact of migration on housing, infrastructure, and wages along with the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

This could involve a range of measures, including increasing the capacity of the refugee intake programme, providing more support to refugees and asylum seekers once they arrive in Australia, and reforming the asylum process to make it more efficient and effective. By taking these steps, we can ensure that Australia remains a compassionate and welcoming country for those in need of protection.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the impact of migration on housing and infrastructure. It is common knowledge that Australia is experiencing a rental housing crisis. The growing population is putting pressure on the availability and affordability of housing, as well as the quality of infrastructure. To address this, there is an urgent need for coordinated planning and investment, with a focus on ensuring that new arrivals can settle in areas where there is sufficient housing and infrastructure.

For interest’s sake, a new report published by UNSW Sydney outlines a comprehensive strategy for tackling the housing crisis in Australia. The report suggests a range of solutions to address the current housing crisis, including changes to zoning laws, increasing affordable housing supply, and introducing a rental subsidies program. The report also calls for greater investment in social housing and the implementation of policies to protect tenants from unfair eviction and rental increases. The authors argue that these measures are necessary to address the growing housing affordability problem in Australia, particularly in cities like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Finally, we need to recognise the importance of skilled migration to the Australian economy. Many industries, including healthcare, technology, and education, rely heavily on skilled migrants, and we need to ensure that the migration system can meet these labour market needs. This could involve targeted migration programs and increased support for migrants to help them find work in their field of expertise.

Need guidance with migrating to Australia? Claymore Thistle is a professional international relocation agency with years of experience in personal and corporate relocation.

Book a free consultation today to speak to one of our relocation experts.

Relocate A Staff Member or Hire Locally? Making the Best Decision for Your Business and Employees

Relocate A Staff Member or Hire Locally? Making the Best Decision for Your Business and Employees

As your business grows and expands, there often comes a point where you might need to do one of the following things:

  1. Relocate a hire from another location because there simply aren’t any staff to be found locally.
  2. Decide whether to relocate an existing employee to a new office in another city or country or,
  3. Hire a new employee already based in that location

We understand that this decision can be challenging, with advantages and disadvantages to both options.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the benefits and potential drawbacks of relocating an existing employee, to help you make an informed decision.



  • Familiarity with the company culture: An employee who has been with the company for some time will be familiar with the company culture and values. This can be a valuable asset when relocating to a new office, as they can help to establish the same culture in the new location.
  • Retention of institutional knowledge: An existing employee has already been trained in the company’s processes and procedures, and has developed relationships with colleagues and clients. By relocating an existing employee, you can retain this institutional knowledge, which can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on training a new employee.
  • Cost savings: Depending on the circumstances, relocating an existing employee can be more cost-effective than hiring a new employee. For example, if the employee is already a high performer, the cost of recruiting and training a new employee may be greater than the cost of relocation.


  • Family considerations: Relocating an employee to another state or country can be a major disruption for the employee’s family. It can be difficult to uproot children from their schools and social networks, and/or to find suitable housing in a new state or country.
  • Cultural adjustment: Even if the employee has travelled extensively, they may still experience culture shock when relocating to a new state or country. This can affect their job performance and their overall well-being.
  • Visa and immigration issues: Depending on the destination country, the process of obtaining a visa and work permit for an employee can be time-consuming and complex.


At Claymore Thistle, our team has extensive experience and expertise in managing interstate and international relocations. We understand the complexities and challenges that come with relocating individuals and families and we are well-equipped to provide comprehensive guidance throughout the process.

Our approach involves working closely with your company and your employees to assess your unique needs and develop customised relocation plans that address these requirements. We can assist with administrative tasks such as visa and immigration paperwork, as well as providing support for cultural integration and adjustment to the new location. This includes help with finding suitable housing, schools for children, and access to essential services and amenities.

Our team strive to provide a comprehensive and personalised service that takes the stress out of relocation and ensures a successful transition for both your company and your employees.

Why do people relocate abroad?

Why do people relocate abroad?

In a hyper-globalised world where technology and remote working conditions are continuously evolving, moving abroad is easier than it has ever been before. Deciding to pack up your life and settle down in a foreign country is no easy task, and it can be challenging to know whether this is the right call for you. Perhaps you’ve received an exciting new job offer, want to move closer to friends or family living abroad, or want to expand your worldview by exploring a different country and culture — whatever your reason for wanting to move abroad, you are most likely wondering whether the adventure will be worth the stress that comes with global relocation.

At Claymore Thistle, we are big advocates for challenging the limits of your comfort zone! In this article, we will take a look at the main reasons why people decide to move abroad to give you some insight into the global relocation journey.


A new job or company transfer

Work is one of the most prominent reasons why people move overseas. This could be due to a company transfer, a new job opportunity, or a complete career change. Some countries are better suited for certain jobs and skills, which may inspire someone to set up camp elsewhere to advance their career. Thanks to the rapid increase in remote and online working opportunities over the last few years, you may not need to relocate to a different country immediately (or at all) to start working in a particular role — depending on your line of work, of course. Yet a new job might be just the sign you have been waiting for to kickstart your relocation journey!


Family or a significant other

Next up, a person may choose to move abroad if they want to reunite with family or perhaps accompany a partner who is relocating overseas for work. This includes parents who want to live closer to their children (and vice versa), families who have gotten split up due to work, study, or financial reasons, and couples who do not want to live apart. Many countries offer family and partner visas for people who want to relocate without having a local job or a different mode of legal entry into the country.


Study opportunities

Education is a major reason why people choose to move overseas, whether permanently or only for a short period. This pertains to both international students as well as parents who want to send their children to school in a particular location to learn a specialised set of skills or master a certain language. In terms of tertiary study, many universities are popular among international students due to the quality of education and the potential for cultural immersion. Oftentimes, international students living abroad come to love their temporary home so much that they end up staying forever!

Better living conditions

Moving abroad in pursuit of a higher quality of life is a common reason for wanting to relocate. An increase in income, a decrease in living expenses, a safer environment, better work and study opportunities, more stable economic and political conditions, less inequality, less pollution, a more exciting cultural scene… These are all motivating factors that may inspire someone to relocate to a different city or country.


Lifestyle choices

Choosing a relocation destination based on lifestyle preferences is especially common among the younger generation of travellers. Online work and the growth of the freelance economy have enabled a whole new lifestyle for remote workers, who have the freedom to choose where they want to live regardless of the location of their employer. Foodies and music fans may find that European countries tend to all of their social and cultural needs, while adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts may be more drawn to southern Africa and the Asia Pacific region. If your working scenario allows for it, you can effortlessly tailor your life according to your unique lifestyle choices!


Cultural experience

Finally, many people decide to move abroad because they are looking for a new challenge or cultural experience. Relocating to a different country marks a major change in anyone’s life. When feeling uninspired or stagnant in a job, relationship or particular setting, a person may experience the urge to ‘start over’ somewhere else. While moving abroad won’t solve all your problems, it will certainly launch you into an exciting new phase of your life. A person or family may also decide to relocate elsewhere when a particular chapter in their lives has come to an end. Retiring from a career, wanting to downsize their house and amount of belongings or longing for a new adventure after their children have left the house are all reasons why people may seek a change of scenery.

If you want to move abroad, but feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the challenges of global relocation, you are not alone. When planning a move abroad, your relocation agent will become your best friend! Enlisting professional help will manage the stress of planning the big move and can even reduce the cost of global relocation. Whatever you need support with — deciding on a relocation destination, finding work abroad, applying for visas, finding accommodation abroad, selling or renting out your property, shipping your belongings, and more — your relocation specialist can take care of all the tough tasks on your to-do list.

Need help moving abroad or searching for corporate relocations?
Reach out to Claymore Thistle today to schedule a call 
for a wide range of relocation services.

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