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We received the following information in respect of one of our clients this week. Not good news for "other family" applicants - ie anyone who would have applied using form 47OF. Doing the mathematics leaves me with the conclusion that many remaining relative and aged dependent family applications may be waiting up to six years, if this policy continues, for their visa applications. Carers may be facing lengthy waits as well. Eventually I assume DIAC will introduce a Contributory Family Visa to complement the Contributory Parent Visa. Anyone counting on an "other family" visa should apply immediately, as the waiting periods will just balloon from this point forward. "I have received the documents you provided for Ms xxxx's application, however I am unable to process this application further at this time due to the reduced number of places in the other family visa class. For the 2010-11 program year the Government has allocated 55,550 places in the Family Stream, 7.9% fewer places than in the preceding year. Within the family stream the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced on the 11 May 2010 that number of places for the Other Family class (which includes Aged Dependent Relative, Carer and Remaining Relative) will be reduced from 2500 places to 750 places globally for the 2010-2011 program year. Within the global allocation 500 of the 750 Other Family places are allocated to Carer visas as they have the highest priority within the category. The 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. While this means that some cases may not be finalised as quickly as clients or the Department would want, it does help to ensure that visa grants within the Family Stream reflect the priorities set by the Government. The Department is currently reviewing the impact on service standards of the reduction in family stream planning levels. It is anticipated that there will be substantial increases in the processing times for Other Family visa categories. More information on processing times will be published on the Department's website when it becomes available. Given the dramatically reduced number of places in the Other Family visa categories globally, we are prioritising cases based on their lodgement date. While Ms xxxx's application was lodged on 8 October 2009 which was almost 1 year ago, we currently have a substantial number of applications lodged in 2008 that are still being processed and will be given priority given the age of these applications. I appreciate that you would like to have Ms xxx's application finalised as soon as possible and if I have any further information on this in the future I will contact you as soon as I know something." Cheers, George Lombard
Australia is heading for a downswing in population growth that could last for a generation, making it harder for businesses to attract and retain workers, a report predicts. The labour market is set to contract as migration rates fall and baby boomers begin to retire in increasing numbers, PKF Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers says. Its third annual Business and Population Monitor, released on Wednesday, also shows resource rich states such as Western Australia may face the greatest shortages right when they need extra workers. "The combination of official cutbacks to immigration, the slowing down of natural population growth, as well as the coming retirement of baby boomers means that just as the demand for workers is rising rapidly, the potential new supply for them is decelerating fast," PKF spokesman Matthew Field said. "The likely implication is that workers will become harder to find, putting pressure on wages, inflation and eventually interest rates, while smaller businesses may struggle to compete for workers with the larger employers." Mr Field said small to medium businesses in resource rich states such as WA, Queensland and the Northern Territory would faced the greatest challenges. Those regions had experienced the sharpest drop in population growth in the past year, he said. "That suggests this trend is having the largest impact precisely on the areas that need workers the most - putting at risk the ability of those states to find the required level of workers, with implications for wage inflation across the country," he said. In addition, workforce participation was at its highest ever level. "The concern for small to medium enterprises is that the high rates imply a scarcity of available labour for any expansion," he said. Mr Field said small business confidence had fallen in 2010, due to rising interest rates and the amount of small businesses in the retail and home building sectors. Slowing population growth would dampen the outlook for home construction, while retail would suffer under higher interest rates and the strong Australian dollar, Mr Field said. "As expected, the fall in business confidence has damaged growth in business investment, demonstrating that, particularly in the resource states, there is a critical need for a large bounce back in order for economic growth to continue in the coming year."