The newly renamed Department of Immigration and Citizenship (formerly the Department of Immigration and Multi-Cultural Affairs) has staffing and resource issues to blame for delays of up to three months in processing applications, according to the Migration Institute of Australia.
The institute said its registered migration agents were experiencing "serious and increasing delays" with 457 visa processing.
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the institute said the immigration department needed more resources to cope with the surge in demand.
The demand for temporary work visas grew by 40 percent during 2005-2006.
"DIAC has spent many millions of dollars overseas to promote Australia as a destination for skilled workers but resourcing of those who process the applications has not been to the same level," said the institute in the submission.
"We do not feel that this increase in demand has been adequately resourced despite the application fees involved increasing the amount of revenue collected."
They claim that electronic application used to be processed within two weeks, but now regularly take up to two months. Manually processed applications can take up to a minimum of three months, up from an average of four weeks.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the process for 457 visas was one month to six weeks, but acknowledged that processing was taking longer.
"While processing times have increased slightly on those in 2005-2006, they remain inside this published service standard," the spokesman said.
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