Bridge visa boom sparks inspection demand

An audit of the common visa processing system has been requested by a Labor MP after an increasing number of bridge visas have been issued, writes Lina Li.

MOST PEOPLE”bridge visas”. A bridging visa is usually issued to a non-citizen in Australia who is applying for a primary visa and awaiting its outcome. It serves to bridge the gap between the first visa expiry date and the next visa grant.

A little too much in 2015 50,000 transit visas have been issued. In sharp comparison, the Government 300,000 Bridge visas in 2021. That’s about six times over a six-year period. Why are some immigrants so interested in bridging visas?

(Source: Ministry of Interior)

Most people travel here on a visitor or student visa (since they are quick and simple compared to others), then apply for another visa. As a result of the visa applied on land, they are given a bridge visa. Due to low requirements for qualifications, work experience and English language skills, the most applied visas are usually joint and protection visas.

To understand why bridge visas are so popular, we need to understand the concept.processing time“Firstly, bridge visa it literally takes as long as the Ministry of Interior to process the visa they have applied for.

Take the partner visa as an example. Processing time for a land partner visa subclass 820, 23 to 30 months. This means that if you apply for a partner visa here, you will likely receive a bridge visa between 23 and 30 months before a decision is made on your application. During this time, you have full working rights and can: signing up for Medicare. you pay $7,850 fee Apply to the government and work for 2-3 years under Medicare in Australia.

The benefits don’t end there. Partner visa also has one of the highest rejection rates.

Some of the reasons for this are:

  • If you are applying for a work visa, your employer must demonstrate that it offers Australians this job opportunity. sponsor for work visa. The government’s system does not allow a person to apply for a work visa without their employer providing evidence to show their efforts in local recruitment;
  • If you are applying for a qualifying visa, you may be interested in the Government’s Skill Selection your age, qualifications, English language skills, skills, etc. system with detailed information. The government only invites highly qualified people and you must have all the documents to prove everything you claim in your statement of interest; and
  • If you are applying for a partner visa, you do not need to have any proof of being in a relationship with an Australian at the time of application. You only need to have the documents available when a litigator decides on your application within 23 to 30 months.
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The partner visa has the lowest proof-of-evidence threshold, making it extremely convenient for those applying for a non-genuine visa to simply gain time to maintain an ongoing residency in Australia.

The low proof threshold is also one of the reasons why partner visas have a high rejection rate. Most people whose visas are denied in Australia can apply for this decision to be reviewed by the Administrative Court of Appeal (WWTP) within a certain period of time. Average processing time for a joint visa decision 831 days by AAT. This means that people can make a payment. $3,000 fee To save 2-3 years or potentially more.

To combine the fees and processing time of both Home Affairs and AAT, you could pay around $11,000 to purchase a bridging visa, have full employment entitlements, and qualify for Medicare enrollment, potentially over four years in Australia. Seems like a good investment for those issuing non-genuine partner visas.

Worse still, the Interior considers countries like the United States to be a low-risk country and countries like Afghanistan to be a high-risk country. As a result, a US passport holder can be issued a joint visa much faster than an Afghan citizen.

Labor MP Julian Hillwhen requesting the Auditor General to conduct an audit of joint visa procedures, said:

‘The average processing time for subclass 309 applications filed by citizens of Afghanistan in 2021 is 43.6 months; For citizens of the United States it is only 7.3 months.’

Such different treatments lead to an unfortunate outcome. For people from high-risk countries, a bridge visa linked to a joint visa becomes even more financially rewarding, as the processing time is almost always over the average of 23 to 30 months.

The Punitive and discriminatory handling of joint visas by the Home Office tragically backfires on the Government. The longer a partner visa takes to process, the more non-genuine partner visas apply, resulting in an even longer processing time. The vicious cycle continues.

Australian immigration prison system

Unless the Department of Home Affairs significantly reduces the processing time of partner visas, switching between partner visa-related visas will not become any less financially attractive for inauthentic couples.

Julian Hill commented In the common visa system:

Australia’s common visa system is broken. But it’s not because of COVID as the Government is trying to imitate it.

But this system is broken; It is the most expensive partner visa in the world. Currently one of the slowest on average. And I believe what the Government is doing is actually illegal.

They violate existing laws Immigration Law. Section 87 of the Act makes it very clear that the minister did not have the power to limit the number of joint or child visas under the Hawke Government and then the Howard Government, which then ministers sought to abolish. This is a tip, isn’t it? You would think that this is actually an effective judgment.”

General Auditor forgive Hehir Responding to Mr Hill’s request to inspect his partner visa:

‘Subject to our normal prioritization processes, I think the administration of joint visa application processes has some justification in performance auditing.’

If there was ever a time to clean up the backlog, now would be the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significantly reduced caseload for the Government. We’ll have to wait and see if the government can take advantage of this short window to eliminate the joint visa backlog and reduce processing time to a more reasonable time frame. acceptable level

Lina Li He works as an immigration consultant in the immigration industry. He has extensive experience in the institutional migration sector and works closely with government agencies to amend the current migration program. You can follow Lina on Twitter @Lina52412342.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this article are solely those of its author. They do not have to represent individuals or organizations with which the author may be associated.

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