Coming Up Wed 9:00 PM  AEST
Coming Up Live in 
Live
Punjabi radio

Queues for migration and citizenship get longer and longer

Source: SBS

As of April 30 this year, there were over 200,000 citizenship applications being processed by the Department of Home Affairs, and perhaps a comparable number of permanent residency applications.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, the average time from lodging an application to receiving citizenship has been stretched from 12 to 16 months.

The information was revealed to the Senate earlier this week when Home Affairs officer Luke Mansfield responded to queries relating to citizenship applications.

According to Mr Mansfield, while the amount of applications continues to increase, the type of applications has also changed, with a spike from people who arrived in Australia years ago without any identity documentation.

The Senate committee was told that tightened national security requirements, as well as growth in the number of applications, has led to an increase in processing time of citizenship applications.

Mr Mansfield also mentioned that complaints about the processing times have also increased.

Confirming that as of April 30, more than 200,000 citizenship applications "are on hand", he stated that this number included applications still to be assessed and in the process of being scrutinised, as well as people who have not attended citizenship ceremonies.

Meanwhile, SBS Punjabi has received several reports from listeners and members from the Punjabi community about an inordinate amount of time being taken to process permanent residency applications. 

In an interview with SBS Punjabi, Sahil Sharma from Queensland's Gold Coast bemoaned the frequently shifting goal posts, when it comes to permanent residency applications.

He says that ever since he set foot in Australia as a student in 2008, whenever the time came to lodge a PR application, the rules changed.

"My course of commercial cookery was removed from the Skilled Occupation list, so I couldn't apply in 2010."

After that, the IELTS requirements were changed, the rules to residency after working on a 457 visa also changed, and it was only in November 2016 that Mr Sharma could apply for an RSMS visa.

"It is now more than 18 months and I still don't know the outcome. I've lived here, worked here, studied, paid my fees and all the taxes, yet I don't know what the future holds."

Mr Sharma's experience has been echoed by many others on SBS Punjabi's Facebook page, after which SBS Punjabi contacted the Department of Home Affairs.

We requested for the latest data about the number of permanent residency applications still in the pipeline and also asked a question about the success rate of these applications - how many on average get rejected. 

A spokesperson for the Department wrote back to SBS Punjabi saying, "We have nothing further to add to our Senate Estimate statements."

If you have an experience with the Department of Home Affairs regarding migration or citizenship, and would like to share with the SBS Punjabi team, please email manpreet.singh@sbs.com.au

Follow SBS Punjabi on Facebook and Twitter.