Australian Immigration Minister: Priority for Key Offshore Applications to Process More Visas Faster

By Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
July 26, 2022 Updated: July 26, 2022

Australian Immigration Minister said offshore applications would be prioritised to allow more migrants to contribute to the country’s economy.

Processing the backlog of visa applications is an urgent priority for the Albanese government, according to Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

“The processing of visas will continue to be a major priority for this Government—but reducing the backlog of applications can’t happen overnight,” Giles said.

“People reallocated to dealing with the visa applications on hand need to be trained and skilled before they can go about this important work.”

Australia’s tourism industry has urged the department to speed up tourist visa processing as some travellers face months-long delays to enter the country after its fully reopening to the world in February.

“If we make it difficult for them to get a visa and it takes forever, they’ll take their money and trip elsewhere,” Margy Osmond, chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum, told the 7.30 program of ABC.

“It is actually damaging our brand not to be able to get those visas out the door as quickly as possible in the most appropriate way.”

It is estimated that the $60 billion Australian tourism industry lost 610,000 jobs during the pandemic.

Epoch Times Photo
People in front of the iconic Sydney Opera on Sept. 8, 2017. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of visa applications has jumped 427 percent since parts of Australia’s borders were opened in November 2021, and 90 percent of tourist visa processing times have improved from 20 months to 37 days as the backlog of applications is processed.

The Department has deployed 140 extra staff since May to handle the caseload and is currently prioritising key offshore applications, including temporary skilled migrant, student, and visitor visas, in the hope that more overseas workers will support Australia’s tight job market and boost economic growth.

“The number of applications received in June 2022 is 6.5 percent higher than May 2022 – over the same period, there was a 10.6 percent increase in applications finalized,” Giles said.

The Department has approved 745,000 visa applications since the beginning of June 2022, of which more than 645,000 were offshore applications, including 388,000 visitor visas, 62,000 study visas, and 9,550 temporary skilled migrant visas.

The Minister said the Morrison Government’s devaluation of immigration led to a backlog of about 1,000,000 visa applications.

“The Albanese Government is determined to reduce the backlog and restore the importance of the immigration function of our Government,” he said.