Visa backlog
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The government explains its progress in dealing with the visa backlog

The Australian immigration minister has published the current visa backlog now stands. How does the government plan to deal with this?

Australia is spending great effort into reducing the visa backlog as it is stated the immigration minister of Australia that the country needs to reduce its visa backlog in order to make sure that the nation can remain competitive on a global scale.

It was revealed by Andrew Giles on Wednesday during the speech at the Migration Institute of Australia National Conference in Hobart that the visa backlog currently stands at around 880,000 applications.

Government efforts to clear visa backlogs

The government had declared in July that it was determined to reduce visa backlogs the government said it was determined to reduce the backlog in a bid to address Australia’s skills shortage crisis.

During the same month, it was also stated by the Department of Home Affairs to SBS news that it had redirected extra resources and was adding additional staff to deal with the visa backlog problem.

This statement was also confirmed in September during the Job and skill summit in which it was announced by the government that it would be spending $36 million to hire 500 extra staff over nine months in order to lower visa processing times.

Thanks to this extra aid the department was able to process over 2 million temporary and permanent skilled visa applications since 1st June, along with 1.35 million visas for visitors, students, and temporary skilled workers.

It was also stated in the report from the Australian Financial Review that about 2.2 million new visa applications were received since 1st June which is 495,000 applicants more compared to last year, during the pandemic when international borders were closed.

The reason behind the government wanting to reduce Backlogs

It was stated by Mr. Giles that backlog created “ongoing uncertainty” for applicants which not only created problems for them but also for businesses as all countries including Australia are competing to attract more immigrants since recently they have had a high demand for skilled workers in the labor market.

The Australian government also desires to expand pathways to permanent residency once the permanent migration cap is increased from 160,000 to 195,000 visa places for the current financial year since “Leading technology businesses, medical research institutions, and major infrastructure companies wish to recruit talents from across the world but are unable to provide the sponsored pathway to permanent residency, that is required to compete internationally, as stated by Mr. Giles.

He also said, “This Government understands the benefits of permanent residency and the dangers of keeping people trapped on temporary visas.”

What about a wage boost for migrants?

Originally the (TSMIT) which is the minimum salary offered to a sponsored temporary skilled migrant was set at 53,900 and has remained at that amount for close to a decade now, however, for skilled migrants of the modern labor market, this amount is simply too low.

It was stated by Mr.Giles that even a majority of the full-time workers have more pay than this as according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average pre-tax earnings for full-time adult workers in Australia is around $92,029.60 per year. Therefore the government has decided to increase it although it is not yet determined how much. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has called for the TSMIT to be increased to $90,000 while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it should be increased up to $60,000.

The government explains its progress in dealing with the visa backlog

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