New Australian visa priority processing timeframes released

Last week, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have announced a new priority structure for processing Australian visa applications. The new structure follows the implementation of a new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) and the revocation of the Critical Skills List, amongst other changes that took place on 1 July, 2010.

Upon its initial release, there were no timeframes attached to each processing priority. However, these have now been provided by DIAC, with the current processing timeframes as follows:

Current Australian Visa Processing Priorities - Updated 28/07/2010
 Processing Priority Group  Group Criteria  Processing timeframe
Priority Group 1 Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) or Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) Applications will be processed according to ENS/RSMS Service Standards
Priority Group 2 Applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency with a nominated occupation that is specified on that state or territory’s State Migration Plan. Applications will be finalised 12 months from date of lodgement.
Priority Group 3 Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

Applications lodged PRIOR to 1 July 2010 will be finalised by 31 December, 2011.

Applications lodged ON OR AFTER 1 July 2010 will be finalised 18 to 24 months from date of lodgement.

Priority Group 4 All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received. All Priority Group 4 applications will only be entered into processing and finalised once all cases in priority groups 1–3 are finalised.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.