Australia's Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is experiencing longer-than-usual processing times for key employment-based visa categories, according to data released by the government. Specifically, expanded processing times have been recorded for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa and the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa. The expanded processing times come amid recent changes to Australia's permanent residency pathways and the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions on entry by foreign nationals.

Processing Times for Subclass 482 and 400 Visas

The Subclass 482 visa is a Temporary Skill Shortage visa designed to allow employers to sponsor a suitably skilled foreign worker to fill a position for which a qualified Australian candidate cannot be found. The Subclass 482 visa features several "streams," including the short- and mid-term streams as well as the labor agreement stream, each of which allows the foreign national to live and work in Australia for a specified period of time. Sponsoring employers with regular and ongoing needs for foreign workers may obtain "accredited" status, which enables faster processing times.

Subclass 482 visas presently require approximately 1 to 3 months for processing by DHA, though some applications are currently taking 15 months or more. These times are a measurable increase from years past, in which DHA processed most Subclass 482 visa applications in a matter of 4 weeks for non-accredited employers and between 1 day and 1 week for accredited employers.

The Subclass 400 is a Temporary Work visa. The visa's Highly Specialized Work stream allows foreign nationals to do short-term, highly specialized work in Australia and is suitable for candidates with specialized skills, knowledge, or experience that it not generally available in Australia.

At present, applications for Subclass 400 visas are being processed by DHA in approximately 4 to 31 days. However, some Subclass 400 visas may require more than 45 days for processing. This too is a measurable uptick in the processing time required for these visas, which previously required approximately 1 day to 1 week for accredited employers.

While DHA continues to process new visa applications, these expanded processing times are a signal that the agency may be experiencing higher application volumes than in the past. Longer processing times also mean that employers should allow additional time to secure Subclass 482 and Subclass 400 visas.

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