This week’s National Interest program on ABC Radio National is looking at the huge processing backlog in Australia’s skilled migration program and the distress this is causing to many migrants who now face a wait of at least two years on their applications for permanent residency in Australia. Host Peter Mares will be speaking to Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) board member Mark Webster and to a graduate of La Trobe University who is affected by the changes.
The National Interest is broadcast live to air on Friday evening at 6.10pm in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, Tasmania , South Australia and in Darwin; 5pm in Queensland and the Northern Territory outside Darwin, and 3pm in WA. It can also be downloaded at any time after broadcast from the http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2009/10/nit_20091030_1830.mp3
The MIA has raised this matter with DIAC on numerous occasions. A submission is now being sent to the Minister, drawing his attention in particular to the unfairness inherent in his priority processing decisions:
- applications which were made as long ago as last year, and many of which were almost finalised, have suddenly been pushed back in the queue, often after new police and health checks had been paid for;
- thousands of applicants will spend years on Bridging visas with no certainty that they will maintain eligibility for GSM, or be able to plan for their future, and will find it difficult to get work, despite having permission to work, as many employers insist that their employees be permanent residents;
- thousands of applicants who in good faith paid visa applications charges with the quite reasonable expectation that their applications would be finalised within published service standard times find themselves in limbo
- thousands of currently enrolled overseas students who are paying large fees to Australian education providers and who intend to use the perfectly legitimate and government designed pathway to permanent residence have had their plans derailed.