Senate debates

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Questions on Notice

Immigration and Citizenship (Question No. 1827)

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 4 May 2012:

(1)   What is the current median processing time for the Dependent Child Visa (Subclass 445).

(2)   Is this category of visa subject to an annual cap; if so: (a) what is it; and (b) what is the policy rationale behind this.

(3)   How many requests for Subclass 445 visas were received in the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 (to date) financial years, including how many were: (a) onshore requests; (b) offshore requests; (c) from low risk countries; and (d) from high risk countries.

(4)   How many requests from low risk countries were: (a) granted; and (b) refused.

(5)   On what grounds were the applications refused.

(6)   How many requests from high risk countries were: (a) granted; and (b) refused.

(7)   On what grounds were the applications refused.

(8)   How many Subclass 445 visa applications have been withdrawn.

(9)   Given that the department's website states that processing times for Subclass 445 visas lodged in Australia are 7 months for low risk countries and 8 months for high risk countries and, for applications lodged outside of Australia, 3 months for low risk countries and 14 months for high risk countries: (a) why is there such a discrepancy between onshore and offshore low risk application processing times; and (b) why does it take 14 months to process an application offshore from a high risk country.

Photo of Kate LundyKate Lundy (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The current median processing time for Dependent Child (Subclass 445) visa applications in 2011-2012 migration program year to 30 April 2012 is 212 days or 7 months.

There is no annual cap on the number of Dependent Child visas. The visa is, however, subject to planning levels in the Migration Program which is determined annually by the Government as part of the Budget. My Department has a responsibility to ensure that the numbers of visas granted overall and within each visa category are in accordance with the agreed planning levels. Departmental resources are allocated to ensure that the planning levels are met over the course of the program year.

The planning level for Child category visas, which includes Dependent Child visas, in the 2011-2012 migration program year was 3 450 visa grants, an increase of 4.5 per cent from the previous program year.

On 8 May 2012 the Government announced a further 11.6 per cent increase in the size of the Chid category for the 2012-2013 migration program year. The planning level will be 3 850.

The table below shows visa application lodgements, grants, refusals and withdrawals or otherwise finalised from persons from high risk and low risk countries.

High risk countries are those countries whose nationals are not eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to be issued for travel to Australia. The Department's current list of low risk countries, that is ETA-eligible countries, is below:

Information about reasons that applications are refused is recorded on individual files but cannot be aggregated to provide caseload-wide statistical reporting.

The timeframes for processing Subclass 445 visas is based on expected demand and complexity of processing. These timeframes incorporate the likelihood of clients needing to undertake health and security requirements and existing pipelines for deciding cases. A review is currently underway to review processing timeframes for the processing of Subclass 445 visas lodged inside and outside Australia.