Many migrants waiting for ‘skilled visas’ in Australia despite labour shortage

For just over two years, Huang Yiwen has been waiting for her permanent residency visa.

“I’ve always considered Australia to be my home,” she explained.

Ms Huang was a part-time teacher at an Adelaide primary school, but she returned to China for a trip in December 2019 after submitting her permanent residency application.

The 28-year-old has been unable to return to Australia for for two years owing to the outbreak.

Since November 1, Australia’s international borders have been open to fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents, as well as temporary visa holders and overseas students.

Ms Huang, on the other hand, must wait for her Skilled Nominated visa to be granted before returning to Australia to work.

The Skilled Nominated visa, commonly known as the 190 visa, is a permanent resident visa that requires candidates to be invited by the state government and to have their abilities, such as teaching, recognised by the Home Affairs Department as an employment in demand.

Ms Huang’s application contains a letter of invitation from the government of South Australia.

“I am unquestionably a valuable individual who can make a significant contribution to the state,” she stated.

“I am a certified teacher who is still employed [on a part-time basis] at that school.

“This indicates I have crucial abilities that the education sector need.”

When she wrote to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, the Department of Home Affairs responded, acknowledging that “the time taken to process your application may be causing you anxiety,” but that it was “unable to establish a time frame for when your case will be finalised.”

As Australia grapples with a skilled migratory worker shortage, details of Ms Huang’s plight have emerged.

At the same time, the 190 skilled visa wait time has increased.

90% of applications were handled within 10 months when Ms Huang submitted her application 25 months ago.

However, 90 percent of applications are now processed in 18 months, and 75 percent in six months, according to the Department of Home Affairs website.

“Most candidates are aware that the pandemic may impair processing time, which might last up to 24 months,” she said.

“However, my case is really lengthy, and I have already over the maximum waiting period.

“I’m not sure how much longer I can wait.”

As of August 2021, the most current data available, 12,176 people were still waiting for their 190 visas to be approved, according to Australian government data.

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