The CPSU welcomes today’s announcement of the Albanese Government’s commitment of $36.1m for 500 more visa processing jobs to deal with the current visa backlog at the Department of Home Affairs.

The lifting of the permanent skilled migration cap to 195,000 combined with a commitment to end the visa backlogs requires a significant increase in ongoing staffing.

The Department of Home Affairs has experienced significant and growing backlogs in processing for skilled migrant visas, family reunions and Australian citizenships. Staff numbers declined significantly under the Coalition Government despite a large increase in case numbers resulting in unmanageable backlogs and workloads.

Rather than investing in the Department’s capacity, the Morrison Government resorted to a failed attempt at privatising the visa processing system. Pressures on our migration system were further exacerbated by the Morrison Government budgeting an $876m cut to visa and migration programs between 2021-22 and 2023-24. There are around 500 fewer staff now than when the Coalition came to power in 2013.

The CPSU expects ongoing funding for this increase in staffing beyond the 2023-24 Budget to ensure all elements of our visa system – processing, settlement services and compliance – are properly resourced.

Ensuring that Australia has a global reputation that visas for potential migrants and their families are processed in a timely manner, is essential if we want to be a leading destination for permanent migration.

Quotes attributable to CPSU Deputy National President, Brooke Muscat:

“The increase in visa processing jobs at Home Affairs is welcome and will help address the worsening backlogs that were ignored by the Morrison Government.”

“These jobs should become ongoing staff as a temporary staff surge will not be sufficient to undo the decade of damage to Home Affairs that created these backlogs.”

“A migration program to meet the needs of the nation involves more than priority processing of skilled visas. The Coalition Government cuts left us with backlogs right across all visa categories and citizenship. Making Australia competitive in the race for global talent requires all elements of the system to be fast, efficient and easy to use.”

Media Contact: Rosie Ryan 0428 605 919