House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Constituency Statements

Business Innovation and Investment Program

4:06 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

The business division and investment (permanent) visa, subclass 888, allows individuals to manage their business and investments in Australia and to bring that expertise to our nation. It's a permanent residence visa. It lets you and family members who have also been granted this visa to stay in Australia indefinitely, work and study here, enrol in Medicare, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence, and to travel to and from Australia for five years from the date of the visa being granted. Importantly, it also allows you to continue to own and manage a business in Australia—the business innovation stream—and continue business and investment activity in Australia, which is the investor stream.

Sadly there are prolonged delays in the visa approval process for both of these subclasses of visas and it has left many applicants in my electorate and the community that they live with in a state of limbo, with their dreams and the future plans in Australia hanging in the balance. These visa classes, quite rightly, are designed to attract business investors to Australia who can create wealth and create jobs, but the extended waiting periods are leading to considerable frustration, anxiety and, sadly, uncertainty for many of those applicants.

These delays affect not only the individual applicants, as you can understand, but their families as well. Indeed, we have situations now of families being separated because of the uncertainty that they are facing. These are situations that are coming into my electorate office for help. In heartfelt pleas that I've seen sent to ministers in the government, these people have written about a long catalogue of issues that these prolonged processes under Labor and the effects they are having on them. Indeed, one applicant reached out to me with their experience of having waited 34 months on a bridging visa. The extensive delays are clearly taking a very significant toll on the mental health not only of the applicant, but the of family from whom they are separated.

The reality is the impact of the pandemic, coupled with these prolonged waiting periods, means that for tens of thousands of people the anxiety that is being felt is rippling through communities such as mine, particularly the Australian Chinese community in my area. There's a great network of support for each and every one of these people, but their problems can be solved if the government gets moving, deals with these applications, stops prevaricating, stops saying one thing and doing another, and actually treats these people in a way that gives them the respect of dealing— (Time expired)