To address labour shortage, the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) or “TSS visa” was introduced. The visa allows Australian employers to sponsor a person from overseas and the sponsorship will be valid for either one to four years.
The processing time of the TSS visa is what have been under discussion lately. Over the last two years, the time it takes Home Affairs to process TSS visas has increased dramatically. 90% of sponsored TSS visas take approximately three months to process, up from around a month before the epidemic began at the start of 2020.
A Home Affairs spokesperson said the delay was due to a number of factors, but that the department was prioritising visa processing for a number of sectors that were critical to Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for nominees/applicants who were already in the country. Application completeness, applicant responses to requests for additional information, and the length of time required to perform necessary checks on supporting information are also factors that impact processing time periods.
Because of the delays and uncertainty surrounding visa processing, some foreign skilled workers have already relocated to other parts of the world, rather than moving to Australia.
For example, a lot of young professionals are attracted to the UK because of the Youth Mobility Scheme visas. Somewhat similar to the TSS visas, the Youth Mobility Scheme visa aimed at those aged 18 to 30 who want to live and work in the UK for up to two years. However, once applied and provided all the needed documents, it only takes 3 weeks to get approved.
This is frustrating but it should serve as a wake-up call to all Australian firms that rely heavily on migrants to fill gaps in their workforce. Visa delays combined with the constant changing of vaccination status are making it more difficult and discouraging for international workers and students to enter Australia.
This is arguably the best time for Australian accounting firms to consider outsourcing, which is a more sustainable solution to labour shortage.
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