Australian 2010/11 migration program - how many sponsorship places are available for the next year?

Currently, only Tasmania and the ACT have
provided information regarding the exact
number of sponsorship places they have
been allocated for the 2010/11 program.

Earlier this year, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) revealed their initial planning level figures for 2010/11 (running from 1 July, 2010- 30 June 2011). These figures indicate the number of Australian visas the Australian federal government will allow to be granted across the entire migration program, and more specifically, the allocation given to the various different type of visa categories within the program.

How do the 2010/11 planning figures compare to the 2009/10 figures?

Compared to planning level figures for the 2009/10 period, some visa categories for the 2010/11 period have a slightly higher figure allocated to them. For example, the figure allocated to employer sponsored visas has risen by 26%. Other areas have seen reductions made, such as the figure for family sponsored visas, which has dropped by 72% compared to 2009/10 numbers.

One update that should be of considerable interest to many Australian skilled visa applicants is that the figure allocated to State and Territory sponsored visa applications has more than doubled compared to last year’s allocation, currently standing at 23,000 allocated places for 2010/11.

What does the new quota for State and Territory sponsored applications mean?

It's important to understand that the figure of 23,000 allocated places will be split between the different States and Territories in Australia, and as applications of this kind are finalised by DIAC, the quota will gradually be filled.

However, through recent contact with DIAC and state government representatives, we have learnt that state sponsored applications that have not yet been processed by DIAC will form part of the quota for the year they are finalised. As a result, an applicant that obtained state sponsorship and lodged their visa in 2008 that received a visa grant in the 2010/11 program year will be part of the states quota for 2010/11.

Theoretically then, it's possible that the number of state sponsored visa applications that have been not been finalised by DIAC could exceed this year’s allocated quota of this visa type. Should they meet the planning level before the end of the 2010/11 year, any further applications of this type might not be processed until the following year. It should be noted that the partners and dependants of applicants will also count towards each state’s quota.

How have the 23,000 allocated places been distributed between the Australian states and territories?

We have approached all the states and territories in Australia, and asked them to confirm the number of sponsorship grants they have been allocated for 2010/11, so we can see how the overall quota of 23,000 is distributed across the different states and territories in Australia.

In addition to this, we have asked each state and territory to confirm how many sponsorship applications they have approved, which have yet to be finalised by DIAC, in order to gain a better insight into how close each area is to filling their quota for this year and how close DIAC are to meeting the planning level for state sponsored visas.

As of 21 October, 2010, we have received the following responses from the Australian States and Territories:


  • Queensland have not been forthcoming with precise figures, as they’ve said their planning levels form part of their migration plan, which has not yet been signed off. However, a representative for the State said he "does not believe that the proposed planning levels for Queensland are likely to cause a problem".


  • Tasmania have confirmed that, pending the federal government’s approval, they will be allocated 700 sponsorship places, made up of 460 listed occupations and 240 off-list places.

    To date, the number of granted and on-hand applications totals 220, leaving a total of 480 places available for sponsorship in the 2010/11 allocation.

New South Wales

  • New South Wales have referred us to their website, and declined to comment on what they state is part of their forthcoming migration plan.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have confirmed that they have been allocated 1740 spaces, which they’ve said equates to roughly 720 sponsorship places available, after the partners and dependants for applicants have been taken into account.

    They have confirmed that they have 690 applications either pending or already granted (but not yet finalised by DIAC), meaning their quota of 720 spaces for 2010/11 is essentially already full. The ACT has already taken the decision that any future application for sponsorship under their migration plan will be processed by DIAC in the 2011/12 year.

South Australia

  • UPDATED 21/10/2010: South Australia has declined to provide information on their allocated quota or the numbers of visa applications they have already nominated for sponsorship which have yet to be finalised.

    However, they have confirmed that certain occupations have already reached their quota number and are no longer available for sponsorship in the 2010/11 program year. Check the South Australia website for the most recent updates on which occupations will not be considered for the current year.

As the different states in Australia respond, this blog entry will be updated.

- Matt Parker is a caseworker for the Australian Visa Bureau.