Unheard voices of 887 visa applicants will speak out on Sunday 14th of August at a rally in Adelaide to raise awareness of visa processing times. Despite the Government’s claims of faster visa processing times, 90% of applications are taking up to 25 months to be processed.
The Skilled Regional Subclass 887 visa is a part of Australia’s skilled migration program. It was introduced in 2007 to provide a permanent visa pathway for applicants who have held a provisional skilled visa for two years or more, and demonstrated a commitment to living and working in regional Australia. Most locations outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are designated Regional Areas by The Department of Home Affairs. This includes Adelaide and the whole of South Australia.
March organiser, Ragab Youssef, moved to Australia with his young family in October 2018. As an electrical engineer, his skills are in demand, and he obtained a position as a contractor in a critical sector with a well-known multinational company. Proving his skills and experience, his managers recommended that he apply for a permanent position but there was a mismatch between company policy and his temporary visa status.
“It’s very difficult to obtain a permanent role on a temporary visa and it is even harder with a bridging visa,” says Ragab. “Fortunately, my company saw beyond this, recognised my value to the team and I was awarded the role.”
There are many more 887 temporary visa holders who have been left treading water, unable to find permanent positions, despite there being 24,500 positions available in SA and 17.3% of SA businesses reporting vacancies (Job Vacancies Australia, ABS, May 2022). Many have the skills and experience to fill local skills gaps but are unable to do so because companies are concerned with the risk of permanent team members on temporary visas. Ragab’s wife is amongst them. She is a mechanical engineer. As temporary visa holders are not eligible for the same childcare and educational benefits as Australian children, she stays home to look after their children.
Both Ragab and his wife’s occupations are on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) (Electrical Engineer 233311 and Mechanical Engineer 233512) but are compromised by the Government prioritising offshore visa applicants. The PMSOL identifies 44 occupations which fill critical skills needs to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19. It is based on expert advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments.
“It seems crazy to me that the Government would prioritise overseas applicants over those who are already here,” says Mark Glazbrook, CEO of Migration Solutions. “Business and industry are crying out for skills and experience and even the Australian Workers Union has endorsed migrants filling local roles, yet here we are, with 887 onshore applicants suffering and local businesses are too.”
“The Department are currently assessing applications submitted before September 2020,” says Mark. “With over 18,000 applications in the assessment queue, an average of 500 new applications submitted each month and recent approvals of 887 visas sitting around 17 individual visas a month, it’s going to be years before the backlog is cleared, if ever!”
The #Grant887Visa #LivesInLimbo 887 rally of migrant workers standing up for unfair processing times will be on Sunday 14 August, 12 – 4pm, commencing in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga.
“Other visa subclasses have thousands of visas granted a month,” says Ragab. “All we want is a fair go.”
“During Covid, the Australian Government told temporary visa holders to go home and those that stayed to support us through covid are being penalised,” says Mark. “The new Government thinks that offshore applicants are the answer, but I think many potential migrants have seen the way current migrants are treated and are considering other options, like Canada”.
What the Government may not have realised is that one day, many of these 887 applicants will be eligible to vote.
Join migrant workers in standing up to unfair visa processing times
Sunday 14 August 12 – 4pm
Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, Grote Street, Adelaide
Google map and directions
Register your attendance here #Grant887Visa Adelaide Rally – Migrant Workers Centre