Australia’s recovery of international students after four months of border re-opening has been hampered by extreme delays in processing visas.
AFR reported that there has been a backlog of more than 16,000 skilled regional visa streams which has led the newly elected Australian government to concentrate on the matter. The country is not only losing time in getting international students but also the skilled workforce onshore within the stipulated time frame.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said that he was focused on clearing the backlogs as “quickly” and “efficiently” as possible. It is also necessary to deliver a visa system that suited the purpose.
In the last Australian budget, the Department of Home Affairs faced budgetary cuts of around AUD 875 million. The effect of it can be witnessed in the delays in visa processing time.
Mr Giles assured that the government is looking at resource allocation and policy options needed to clear the huge backlogs. He hinted to make Australia the world’s most successful multicultural society by ensuring that this situation is not repeated in future and to tie visa processing with the economic future of the country.
CEO of IEAA, Phil Honeywood elucidated the problems that are plaguing the visa processing. They include less trained staff at embassies to deal with the huge workload, Covid-related lockdowns which forces student visa to be processed in other countries and an increase in fraud visa documentation from student source countries.
Honeywood explained that the department has received additional funding to clear backlogs from the government to hire new staff and pay for overtime for existing employees. He also said that any change to the uncapped working hours for international students will be first discussed with stakeholders.
Giles emphasised that the short-term measures of the government must be aligned with the vision of rebuilding the economy, reskilling jobs and boosting work productivity.
The Australian National Cabinet committed to working to address visa backlogs, reduce the processing time of visas and codify training and migration.
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Source: The PIE News