Some Australian skilled visa applicants are waiting up to eight years for their applications to be processed, it has been claimed.
The country’s SkillSelect skilled immigration programme, which was implemented in July 2012, prioritises applicants who have skills and experience in occupations currently in most demand down under, with visa processing times for such applicants only likely to be a few months.
However, for people at the very bottom of the skilled migration queue, classified as ‘priority five’, the wait is likely to be far longer.
Angela Chan, the President of the Migration Institute of Australia, which represents registered migration agents, has expressed her concern at the huge backlog of priority five applications.
“People’s applications are not being processed and they have to wait for inordinate lengths of time, up to eight years,” she said. “People need to know what their future is going to be.”
The Australian Federal Government has admitted that the Immigration Department is dealing with a large backlog of cases, while a spokesman for the Assistant Minister for Immigration, Michaelia Cash, said the Government was aware the priority processing system had impacted on waiting times, but reaffirmed that the Government had to take into account the state of the labour market when processing visa applications.