Democracy in Colour calls on the Federal Government to speed up visa processing

24th of August, 2022

National racial and economic justice organisation Democracy in Colour has launched apetition calling on the Federal Government to provide extra resources for faster visa processing.

Long wait times for visa applications are leaving people in limbo. Over one million visas are lodged with the Department of Home Affairs, waiting to be processed – and people are stuck without hope and certainty for their futures. [1]

Labor MP Julian Hill says that if this continues, the Department of Home Affairs will be known as the department of “human misery and economic carnage”. It’s clear that the backlog of visa applications needs to be dealt with now. [2]

We urgently need visa applications to be processed faster for everyone – from international students, refugees and asylum seekers, temporary visa holders as well as permanent workers.

Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil has the power to strengthen the Department of Home Affairs, by providing more funding for staff and resources to make sure the staggering backlog of visa applications is cleared so that people can migrate with safety, timeliness and dignity.

Labor is calling from within their own party for this to happen, and we can back them with a strong show of public support. Last week, Minister O’Neil announced that 60,000 people waiting for permanent skills visas are going to be prioritised – while this is a step in the right direction, it comes at the expense of temporary and other visa holders.

Right now, internal resources at the Department are being redirected to deal with those permanent worker visas. Instead, they could further fund the Department to deal with all types of visas.

Temporary visa holders are the backbone of Australia’s economy, from working in essential services like; hospitality, healthcare, supply chains and delivery, to propping up our higher education system. They kept so many of us comfortable, safe and healthy during the hardest times of the pandemic, as essential health, hospitality and transport staff, and at the expense of their own health and wellbeing. In 2020 there were over 2 million temporary visa holders living in Australia.

Thousands of people are stuck in holding patterns, waiting for their visa. The Government has the power to give them hope and certainty, so that lives can be built and families can flourish.

[1]Skilled workers prioritised amid backlog of almost one million visa applications
[2]Visa application backlog risks causing ‘human misery and economic carnage’ due to understaffing, says Labor MP