The Australian government issued a statement recently regarding the backlog of offshore visa applications.
The Albanese Government has made addressing the visa backlog an urgent priority, and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs has directed the Department of Home Affairs to devote more staff to addressing the current visa backlog.
The Department is prioritising the processing of key offshore caseloads – temporary skilled, student, and visitor – so that more people can travel to Australia and contribute to economic growth while also helping to address labour shortages.
Andrew Giles, Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, has directed the Department to address the backlog as soon as possible. Minister Giles is weighing all options for dealing with the backlog.
Officers previously focused on travel exemptions have already been redirected to visa processing, with nearly 140 new visa processing staff hired since May 2022. Furthermore, a surge capacity for working overtime has been established, with personnel drawn from across the Department and the Australian Border Force.
Minister Giles stated that the Department was working through a large number of older cases while also seeing an increase in application volumes across key programmes.
“The number of applications received in June 2022 is 6.5% higher than May 2022 – over the same period, there was a 10.6% increase in applications finalised.” Minister Giles said.
Since the beginning of June 2022, 745,000 visa applications have been finalised, including over 645,000 offshore visa applications. There are 388,000 visitor visas, 62,000 student visas, and 9,550 temporary skilled visas available.
“The processing of visas will continue to be a major priority for this Government – but reducing the backlog of applications can't happen overnight.
“People reallocated to dealing with the visa applications on hand need to be trained and skilled before they can go about this important work.
“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.” Minister Giles said.