The backlog of skilled worker visas is a “desperate situation” but the government is working as quickly as possible to process them, the prime minister said.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 foreign workers remain due to visa processing, as businesses across multiple industries indicate they are plagued by skills shortages.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said additional staff had been put in to deal with the large backlog of orders, but more needed to be done.
“It’s a desperate situation we’ve inherited. We’ve put significant resources into additional staff to process these visas,” he told Sydney Radio 2GB on Wednesday.
“How frustrating it is to have people standing in line wanting to come here, waiting for over a year, and not being able to get their visas processed.”
The government indicates it is considering raising the cap on skilled immigration to address job shortages in several key industries.
The current limit is 160,000, but some say it could be raised to 180,000 or even 200,000.
The shortage of skilled workers from abroad, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be one of the areas discussed at the government’s two-day summit on jobs and skills next week.
Albanese said it had a large backlog of orders, but there was movement on the issue.
“We are working as quickly as possible to address this,” he said.
“For visas, of course, we need a check.
The prime minister pointed out that cutbacks in public services by the previous government left the country short on resources to process visas.
Albanese said it also needs to look at how skilled workers are brought into the country to fill vacancies.
“We bring temporary immigrants into areas where skills are in short supply, get rid of them, and accept new temporary immigrants to fill the same jobs. It makes no sense to me,” he said. Told.