Australia – Skilled workers prioritized amid a backlog of almost one million visa applications

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Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil outlined how the government will attempt to deal with the issue.

Australia’s visa backlog will be tackled by first prioritizing 60,000 permanent visa applications lodged by skilled workers based overseas as the federal government focuses its response on workforce shortages being hindered by processing delays.

It’s been revealed the backlog facing the government is close to a million applications across several visa categories, the problem stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 border closure.

The Department of Home Affairs has redirected resources and brought on more staff to address the visa gridlock, which has made wait times for applicants worse.

 But Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has now confirmed its plan will prioritize skilled applicants from offshore with a focus on health, education and aged care.

“The real priority for me is what we can do within the constraints of the system to quickly work through that backlog,” she told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“The change is prioritizing people who are offshore who are wanting to come here to work and working through those applications as quickly as we can.”

It’s a drop in the ocean when we are talking about a backlog that is close to a million

New government figures have revealed that the current visa backlog is 961,016 visa applications across all categories with some 560,187 lodged by people outside Australia.

This includes 57,906 skilled workers seeking permanent visas. Another 13,806 offshore visa applicants are seeking temporary visas.

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