Practicing in one of the more complex areas of law can be challenging to say the least, but migration professionals must also be prepared for the continuous changes in legislation, policy and processing times to ensure they maintain a great service for their clients.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs confirmed that as of the 30th of June 2019, 90% of Partner visas (including Prospective Marriage, Partner Provisional, Partner Migrant, Partner Temporary and Partner Residence visas) were being processed in 547 to 768 days from lodgement.
What are the possible effects of such delays?
In practical terms, it means that practitioners may have cases which can be active for up to one or two years. During this time, they will likely be required to undertake activities such as tracking visa expiries, biometric requests, further information requests on health and/or character not to mention providing other information required by the case officer in order to make a decision on the application. Although these processes appear to be purely administrative on the surface, these activities can be time consuming but crucial to the success of a visa application. A missed deadline could result in a visa refusal which will have significant consequences for the client, their family and their eligibility for future applications. Unless there are solid processes in place, there is always a risk of something slipping through the cracks which could have serious implications.
With the increase in processing times the pressure of managing and marketing a business, juggling a heavy caseload and meeting compliance requirements, migration practitioners have many plates to keep spinning at once.
It is important to acknowledge that within 1 to 2 years, the Department could make further changes to legislation, policy, forms and processing times. During this time, there may also be changes within the applicant’s relationship with an Australian Citizen for example - which may include the birth of a child, or even a breakdown in the relationship.
In circumstances where applications have such long processing times, additional tasks and processes may present themselves which can lead to exceeding the budgeted time for a case. Any unaccounted-for work will mean billing the client for any additional services performed or absorbing the unbillable admin time.
Tools for migration professionals
If you have just started out in the migration profession or if you are an experienced practitioner who is looking for the right tools to streamline your administrative processes and data management, you may wish to consider a software solution designed to manage your caseload with ease.
Considering the ever-changing nature of migration law, together with such a high-level of compliance requirements, it may be a good time to review your processes and software to ensure that you are able to use your valuable time in the most efficient way possible.
With this in mind, we invite you to contact the team to see how we can be of benefit to your practice.