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More demands, less reason …. current issues with visa processing

Like many professional agents, we have a wide range of application being processed at the same time and we are encountering a long list of similar issues. The most common we are seeing are:

  1. Requests for information that appears irrelevant or has already been provided
  2. Case Officers who come to unreasonable conclusions without seemingly having reviewed the information contained in an application
  3. Long processing times for all visas including the 457 visa stream
  4. Undertaking background checks on applicants beyond the provision of Police Clearances
  5. Long processing times for Partner and Parent Visas – way beyond the advertised times on the Department’s website
  6. Inconsistent decision making – especially around the 457 visa program – where some application and nominations are being approved and others refused despite being for the same employer and occupation.

The outcome of many of these problems are increased workloads for clients and agents and growing frustration. The problem appears that the Department has implemented processing changes but hasn’t provided its ‘clients’ with any indication of the new expectations. As such, visa applications prepared to a standard to meet known requirements are now being addressed against unknown requirements and hence are being refused or requests for further information have been sent for a broad range of documentation that in some cases isn’t material to the visa criteria.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend we are seeing is the Department engaging in an activity that appears to circumvent visa legislation. An example of this is in the 457 visa arena where application are made under WTO exemption – no need to undertake Labour Market Testing. The Department is using a strategy based on the Genuine Position position provisions to engage in an end run around the WTO exemption. All very interesting at one level, but damaging to Australia’s intentional reputation at a much broader level.