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Visa application processing times

The bane of existence for anyone that deals with the Department of Immigration, is visa processing times.

The Department now publishes (somewhat a little behind) processing times on their website. I have included a few of the more popular visas here as examples.

You should also note that applications are processed on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances including: whether you have lodged a complete application, how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information, how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided, how long it takes to receive additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements, and for permanent migration visa applications, how many places are available in the migration program.

I would like to add, that visa processing slows considerably at certain times of the year. In particular towards the end of the financial year (places in programs may be filling) and at the end of the year/beginning of the new year when many staff take holidays.

We also often see a spike in certain visa applications when changes are made in certain programs. For example, 457 visa applications have increased since April 2017 changes were announced. This has had a flow on effect to partner visa processing times – which are being used now as an alternative to employer sponsored visas.

Whilst on the subject of citizenship, the Parliamentary dual citizenship saga has now ended.

For those who are interested I have presented here, just the facts and only the facts……….

Back in 1898 Sir John Hannah Gordon, a member of the Australian Federation Conference suggested the words be added to the then proposed Constitution ‘or has not since been naturalised’ when dealing with the question of parliamentarians and their citizenship status.

He was defeated, overwhelmingly.

There have been cases questioning eligibility of Parliamentarians as far back as 1904, 1946 and 1950. Then again in 1987, 1992, 1996 and 1999.

Fast forward to 2017 - How did we get to where we are now?

A Barrister in WA, (who it has been claimed was in fact trying to catch Derryn Hinch ‘out’ as far as him renouncing his New Zealand citizenship status), ultimately ‘caught out’ Scott Ludlam as not renouncing his New Zealand citizenship back in 2006 when he first nominated for pre-selection.

Others then felt obliged to investigate their citizenship status. The Court of Disputed Returns was asked to decide the fate of the named and shamed seven Parliamentarians. The High Court sits as the Court of Disputed Returns, and they brought down their decision on Friday afternoon, 27 October 2017.

The winners

Matthew Canavan – court agreed with his Counsel’s argument. He regains his ministerial responsibilities

Nick Xenophon – Had already indicated that he was leaving federal politics for a state seat in South Australia. This means that there is now a casual vacancy in his electorate and his party will now choose a replacement.

The losers

Barnaby Joyce result: By-election in his seat

Fiona Nash – Senate recount

Malcolm Roberts – Senate recount

Scott Ludlam – He had already resigned. Senate recount

Larissa Waters – She had already resigned. Senate recount

In the judgement handed down by the High Court, it spoke about the results of a recount and that in 2016 Australian voters had elected a particular party and ‘accordingly, in each of those cases, votes cast "above the line" in favour of the party that nominated the candidate should be counted in favour of the next candidate on that party's list’.

Some interesting points:

Can the Department of Finance claw back salary and entitlements give to the ousted five parliamentarians?

Yes, but history shows that a waiver is usually given.

What happens with past Parliamentary votes that now ineligible Parliamentarians participated in? Could some Bills now be invalid?

No, but the opposition could challenge actions taken by those Ministers.

(The precedent for these two questions was set earlier this year when a former Senator was disqualified from Parliament)

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