The number of pending visa applications for regional skilled worker visas has reached 16,000 at this point

The number of pending applications for regional skilled worker visas has reached 16,400, and the processing period for these visas has increased to more than 19 months. This delay affects about half of all those who are considering migrating to Australia.

According to information that was made public by the Department of Home Affairs in March of this year as part of the freedom of information rules, there were a total of 16,467 pending applications for the 887 skilled regional visa stream. Of these, 300 applications had been with officials for more than a year.

The slowest 10 percent of all applications for an 887 visa have taken more than two years to be resolved as the Albanese administration attempts to speed up processing times in an effort to help fill a record 423,000 job openings throughout the nation.

New migrants are granted the ability to work and study in any part of Australia, to sponsor family members for permanent residence, and to petition for citizenship for themselves.

According to Home Affairs, the agency is presently evaluating applications that were received for the stream before September 2020.

According to statements made by a couple to The Australian Financial Review on Monday, the pair had submitted the necessary papers for the 887 visa in January 2021. Since then, the couple has not heard anything from the department.

Because applicants must be citizens or permanent residents in order to be considered for positions, the couple stated that they were not considered for numerous jobs despite the fact that they had relevant experience and were eligible for them.

“The fact that the processing time is being pushed back is a continuing cause of concern for both you and I. The approval process used to take just ten months, but today it might take more than two years.

“It is not right that a straightforward check on residency for two years and job experience takes more than 25 months,” the person said.

According to the data obtained via freedom of information requests, the department received 13,232 applications for the skilled independent visa subclass 189 stream in the month of March. Workers who have been asked to work in Australia are eligible for this visa, as are citizens of New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom living abroad who possess talents that are in demand in Australia.

During the time period beginning in July 2021 and ending in February 2022, the Department of Home Affairs granted more than 69,600 applications for partner visas, child visas, skilled worker visas, and elderly parent visas.

Andrew Giles, Australia’s Minister of Immigration, said that the federal government was working on potential remedies to the significant backlog. Since the election, public officials have had their focus shifted away from their other tasks and onto the processing of visas.

Mr. Giles said that “we are working our way through the enormity of the backlog while also thinking about policy choices and the resource allocations required to get things going.”

According to a report that was published by the Australian Financial Review earlier this month, a budget cut of $875 million at the Department of Home Affairs is expected to further blow out already expanded visa waiting times and heap more stress on business owners waiting on the arrival of employees and visitors.

The median processing time for a short-term temporary skilled visa is presently 83 days, which is an increase from the 53 days it took in March.

The processing of one quarter of applications takes at least one year, while the slowest ten percent of applications for temporary skilled visas take fifteen months to complete.

“I’m obviously looking very carefully in the first instance at what can be done in the here and now because I think what business wants and what visa applicants want is quicker processing times today,” Mr. Giles said in an interview with ABC radio. “I think what business wants and what visa applicants want is quicker processing times today.”

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