The DIAC can fast track certain classes of visa applications, according to priorities set by the Minister.
Priority Processing list
Priority processing arrangements apply to current applications, and do not change visa eligibility criteria.
They allow the DIAC to address the needs of certain industry sectors, by targeting certain skills that are in demand, and allowing those applications to effectively “jump queue”.
The new priority processing arrangements apply (with the highest priority listed first) to:
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visas;
- applicants who are nominated by a state or territory government agency;
- applicants who have an occupation on Schedule 1 of the Skilled Occupation List (in effect from 1 July 2012).
- Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visas; and
- certain points based skilled migration visas such as:
- other applications.
Applications for visa subclasses 186, 187, 189, 190 or 489 lodged through SkillSelect will be given the highest priority within each priority processing group. For example applicants from the health industry receive invitations within weeks of lodging an EOI, where they only have 60 points, yet applicants with skills outside the health and IT industries have waited 3 + months despite having 75 points.
Visa subclasses exempt from Priority Processing
The following visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing, and are processed in the order in which they are received:
- skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476).
- applications that are remitted to the DIAC by the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).
- applications where it is readily apparent that the criteria for grant of a visa would not be satisfied.
- skilled – Graduate (subclass 485).
- skilled – Regional (subclass 887).
- applications from the holders of eligible subclass 495, 496, 475 or 487 visas for a Skilled – Sponsored Provisional (subclass 489) visa in the Second Provisional Visa stream.
- applications from subsequent entrant applicants.
Decision Ready Processing
This is another useful tool to utilize where you need to have your visa processed quickly.
Only approved and registered migration agents can utilize the decision ready processing.
The reason for this:
- the agent needs to guarantee the DIAC that the application is ready to be approved.
- if the agent repeatedly represents an application to be “decision ready” when it is not, then the RMA loses their permission to use the decision ready process.
Decision ready applications usually “jump queue” ahead of all non-decision ready applications, which can reduce processing times from 12 months to 1-2 month. By way of a recent example, the official processing time for partner visas is 13 months, yet we had a recent experience where our client’s decision ready partner visa was approved within 6 weeks of lodgment.