Abdo Gamal Taher, 26, is an engineer from Yemen who left behind conflict in his country to pursue his career in Nairobi, Kenya. His dream is to one day take his skills to Australia, but despite applying for a visa targeting engineering graduates back in May 2019, he’s been left waiting for approval.
Abdo Gamal Taher has applied to come and work in Australia.
“It’s a golden chance. It is a golden opportunity [to work in Australia],” he said. “The process is completely slow. Applicants are being held – are being trapped – while you can get a benefit out of them.”
Applicants are being trapped while you can get a benefit out of them,
Abdo Gamal Taher, Visa applicant
“We have put people from other duties into trying to clear the visa backlog that clearly is something that’s required,” he said on 17 June.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says his government has put on extra staff to help clear the visa application backlog. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH
A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson has since confirmed to SBS News its intention to reduce visa processing times and the number of submitted applications.
The department has described the response as developing a so-called “surge capacity” comprising staff from across the department and Australian Border Force.
The department would not tell SBS News how many staff it had brought on to help clear the backlog.
‘This will take time’
“If, however, they end up moving staff from other processing areas that may end up just being an issue of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul'”.
“That’s a staggering number,” he said.
“Quite often [for clients] it’s beyond frustration – it’s a big detriment to people’s lives and [their] ability to move on and settle and plan ahead for the future.”
“If we can get some support from the government, get more hairdressers here at home – it would make it so much easier for us as a business to continue to grow and make back some of those losses over those two years we were closed down.”
Joey Scandizzo wants to hire more workers from overseas. Source: AAP / JULIAN SMITH
National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson said the agriculture sector is also facing workforce shortages.