Regional 489 Skilled Migrants Struggling for Survival

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We would like to draw your attention towards Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) holders (granted visa before 16/11/2019) who needs to stay at least 2 years in regional areas to qualify for an application for a permanent resident visa SC887. (Current Visa global processing time of 887 is 24-28 months as per immigration website).

We have witnessed published visa global processing time for SC887 jump from 4 months to 28 months for no reason. With some of us waiting for two years and longer for a visa decision. We are in quite a predicament, with our original visas expiring whilst we are waiting in the queue for our permanent residency. A lot of us are now on bridging visas, putting important life’s decisions on hold and unable to move on. For us it spells uncertainty, cancelled travel plans, inability to visit aging parents overseas, delaying university applications for children, etc. – we are all still waiting “to be accepted”. Great job opportunities pass us by, as employers will not consider us while we are on provisional and bridging visas. No lender will offer us a mortgage or allow to finance a car, unless with ridiculously high interest rates and insurance premiums. We made Australia our home, yet we will be classed as "foreign buyers" if we are to buy a property. 

Our families are not entitled to get help from the government, discounts for childcare and older children’s university fees – yet we are paying taxes, just like citizens and permanent residents. In order to transition to 887, we all have satisfied conditions of our provisional visa, i.e. settled and worked full time in designated/regional areas for a set period. We have done the hard yards and became a part of this country. We are ready to develop further, continue to enjoy Australia and contribute to the nation’s wealth. Instead, we seem to be suspended in a never-ending limbo with not many rights but obligations. Uncertainty is mentally exhausting. Seeing constant extension of processing times, monthly advertised on the immigration site, makes it hard to maintain a positive mindset. Ever changing visa processing rules and new tentative legislation proposals add to anxiety. 

We understand that there are reasons for most visa subclasses processing delays, but it is the solutions we are seeking. We are already paying hefty fees for visa applications; in return we would love to enjoy good customer service and reasonable processing times. Most importantly, we want to feel like we finally belong.

We are also unclear in a present situation that whether we will be eligible for any relief from government stimulus plan in case of financial crisis during COVID19 .

We would like to request Home Affairs to act on following points.

·        Give priority processing to 887 Visa applicants and reduce  visa processing time of 887 visa to maximum four months for all 887 visa applications by allocating more Case Officers. 

·        Consider 489 Visa Holder and 887 Visa Applicants in COVID-19  all stimulus package immediately as we are suffering same like other Australians Residents.

·        All 489 Visa Holders should get interim Medicare during COVID19 Crisis

·        489 Visa holders and 887 Visa Applicants are living and working in Australia as Residents and should be considered to come back like other Australian residents as Australia is their home.

·        Waive of Rents for 887 Visa Applicants and 489 visas holders during Covid-19 Crisis as most of us are working as Casual employee and loosing jobs or Sole traders with no business income .We need help from the government to survive same as other Australian Citizens and Residents.