We frequently get asked this question by clients, and it is not an easy one to answer.

In reality, there are myriad reasons why applications take a long time to process including:

  • the Department of Home Affairs allocates greater priorities in respect of some visa classes with the result that more staff are available to deal with them,

  • Some visa categories, such as the business skill visas, can be quite complex and considerable time can be spent analysing large numbers of supporting documents.

  • In other cases, the reasons for delay are because the application has not been well prepared, meaning that case officers need to go back to the applicant for further information before a decision can be made.

Some interesting statistics relating to processing and delays generally include:

  • the Department currently has a staff of 2,500 visa and citizenship decision makers,

  • an additional 100 processing staff have been hired to assist in the backlog of over 250,000 citizenship applications,

  • the Department has recently indicated that it is now processing decision ready, low risk ENS/RSMS cases as a priority as a means of increasing efficiency. There are currently 30,000 ENS applications under processing,

  • 82,000 first stage partner applications are in the pipeline and 156 000 second stage applications

So far as partner visa applications are concerned, it seems that the Department has recognised that the delays of up to 2 years are not really acceptable, and we are seeing signs that it is taking positive steps to facilitate the transition to permanent residence by not requiring a separate application to be made, but instead finalising both first and second stage applications at the same time. This is a good initiative which goes some way to alleviating the stress many applicants are experiencing as a result of lengthy processing delays.

For further information and advice, please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne:

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au