The wait time for Family Reunion Visa for Australians have now emerged as 56 years, and this development has spurred outrageous reactions amongst Migrant Advocates.
The average wait timeframe for the various classes of visa was duly confirmed by a spokesperson from the Immigration and Visa Services, during the Senates Estimates held last week.
According to Peta Dunn, the First Assistant Secretary; the application processing period for 75% of the partners is within 14 – 21 months, while 75% of the ones for children are usually processed within 10 -12 months.
Contributory Parents or parents who can afford to pay a fee of $47,455 will be looking at an average application wait time of 45 months.
The average wait time for non-contributory parents is currently above 30 years, while the application time for other family members has gotten as long as 56 years.
Presently, the number of pending applications from non-contributory parents still under processing has 49,983, and the ones from other family members have grown to 8,111 pending applications.
Luke Mansfield, the current vice Secretary for Immigration and Citizenship Services informed Senate Estimates that the extravagantly long wait periods can be traced to the government’s specific Immigrant Intake.
He also pointed out that for a considerable number of years, the government has given higher preference to Skilled Entry and made more room for skilled Entry relatives than family entry through the program.
Tremendously long wait periods
It was Senator Nick McKim who raised the subject of wait periods during the Senate Estimates, and he stated that 56 years was a terribly high number.
He added that the same goes for the 30 years wait for time frame allotted to non-contributory parents.
He expressed his utmost disappointment at the system as he mentioned that it was outrageous for families to have to wait for so many years, and sometimes decades to have a reunion.
The CEO of FECCA, Mohammad Al-Khafaji said that on a more serious note, many family members might have lost their lives before the family is being granted permission to reunite in the country.
He regretfully pointed out that the issue of families having really long wait periods has not been a new development.
Slash in immigrant intake from Family Stream
The budget for last week gave more information on the immigration changes made by the government.
One of such changes is the decrease in the nation’s immigrant intake, dropping from 190,000 to 160,000.
In the current financial year, there are 60,750 slots available in the family Stream, but during the next fiscal year, the slots will be slashed to 47,732 places.
Senator McKim said that the slash implies that over 13,000 families have lost their chances of being reunited this year.
He noted that with the current figures earlier stated and the major slash made to the immigrant intake, the government is successfully walking against its jurisdiction as the reduction in the number of slots in the family stream was unnecessary and more families are sadly being kept away from being together.
Mr. Al-Khafaji induced that the slash in the number of slots for families means that the Government has no intentions of offering any form of relief to the applicants and that the backlog of applications and application wait time will continually be on the increase.
Efforts to get information or response from the Department of Human Affairs.
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