Offshore Visas Now Top Priority, Says Australian Immigration Minister

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Albanese Government determined to reduce backlog

745,000 new visas have been approved by the Australian immigration department just in the single month of June under the new Australian Labour government. Bearing further good news for offshore visa applicants, 645,000 visa applications out of the total visas finalised had been lodged from outside of Australia. This impressive number of visa processing rates include temporary skilled migration visas to Australia (9,550), student visas (62,000) and visitor visas for potential tourists (388,000), along with partner visas, child visas and the most commonly delayed parent visa.

Key developments

  • 745,000 new visas processed in June with a majority of offshore visas, 645,000.
  • 140 new immigration officials appointed to speed up visa processing.
  • 6.5% more applications submitted and 10.6% more applications finalised.
  • Offshore visa places to be top priority in upcoming migration planning levels.

This comes as an impressive sign of progress just one month after the newly appointed Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles had firmly directed the Department of Home Affairs to take immediate action towards tackling visa backlogs.

140 additional immigration officials had been assigned the task of concluding all visa processing formalities that remained due for the backlogged visas. Furthermore, overtime working hours had been scheduled for visa processing officials to maximise the visa processing rate. Minister Giles reaffirmed that these particular instructions had been sent from his office in the form of government directives and guidelines.

A 6.5% higher number of visa applications were received in June 2022 compared to May, even more impressively, 10.6% higher number of visas were processed and finalised; Minister Giles aptly mentions these immediate results referring back to his announcement in the same month that the Australian immigration department aims to systematically reduce visa delays.

Two factors have largely contributed to this positive outcome. One is a pre-election promise by the Labour government to tackle the visa processing delays. The other factor is the more recent accomplishment of the Australian economy that reached a record low rate of unemployment at 3.5% in nearly half a century, which means that Australia is focusing highly on ensuring maximum employability of its labour force to efficiently meet the nearly half a million vacancies as of July.

This can only be accomplished if the Australian immigration department expands the intake of immigrants to strengthen the nation’s labour force by increasing the places for the business and skilled migration levels.

According to an official statement by the Immigration Minister Andrew Giles,

“The department is prioritising processing of key offshore caseloads – temporary skilled, student and v​​isitor – so more people can travel to Australia and contribute to economic growth, and assist with labour shortages,”

Offshore visas are to be the main focus in succeeding migration planning levels as more places are to be allocated to offshore visa categories such as business innovation and investment visas, skilled visas and student visas for international students.

Specially in regards to offshore student visas for international students, David Templeman, the International Education Minister of Western Australia had recently opined, 

“International students are an important part of the WA community – they make a positive contribution to the State’s diversity and vibrancy, and support local jobs in a variety of industries. Providing a skilled migration pathway is key for attracting international students to Western Australia to retain their capabilities once they have completed their studies.”

With a target to maximise the processing and finalisation of higher number of visas whilst reducing visa grant delays, Minister Giles concluded his statement with the remark,

“The processing of visas will continue to be a major priority for this government…The former government devalued immigration, with the visa application backlog increasing to nearly 1,000,000 on their watch. The Albanese Government is determined to reduce the backlog and restore the importance of the immigration function of our Government.”

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