This is the first Annual Report of the Department of Home Affairs for the financial year ending 30 June 2018 was released recently. It is the first annual report for the Department which was established on 20 December 2017.
It is a voluminous report which reflects the magnitude of the Department. Some of the highlights identified in the report include:
The report reveals 46 million travellers (passenger and crew) crossed the Australian border in 2017-2018.
The Department made significant progress in resolving the legacy caseload of illegal maritime arrivals following the Government’s 1 October 2017 deadline for people to apply for an assessment of their asylum claims. Of the 32,414 illegal maritime arrivals that were in Australia with unresolved status after the implementation of Operation Sovereign Borders in September 2013, 65 per cent of applications (21,076 cases) had been decided as at the end of the 2017-18 financial year.
The Department delivered Australia’s migration program within the Government ceiling of 190,000 places. In 2017-18, 162,417 migrants were welcomed under the program.
The Department maintained its integrity checking of visa applications efforts. Its focus on visa integrity resulted in overall refusals in 2017-18 (based on character, fraud, identity and other grounds) increase by 46 per cent on the previous year.
The Department of Home Affairs delivered the Australian Humanitarian Program with 16,250 permanent resettlement places offered to refugees this year.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa was introduced during 2017-18. The new visa is designed to ensure Australian workers have priority but enables businesses to access critical skills where they are not otherwise available locally. The report states that processing times for the new TSS visa are considerably shorter than earlier visa types.
The Department continued to expand online visa lodgement capacity which is now available to applicants from Australia’s two largest cohorts—China and India—including for visitors and student visas. In 2017-18, 90 per cent of all visa applications lodged electronically (up 8 per cent from 2016–17) and 71 per cent of applications for citizenship by conferral were lodged electronically (up 15 per cent from 2016–17).
Some interesting statistics referred to in the annual report include:
In relation to Permanent visa outcomes
- 12% decrease overall in the number of permanent migration program numbers compared to the previous financial year
- 10.5% reduction in skilled stream visas granted since July 2016
- 17% reduction in family stream visas granted since July 2016
A total of 162,417 places were granted under the Permanent Migration and Child Program which is broken down as follows:
- 111,099 skill
- 47,732 family
- 3,350 child
- 236 special eligibility
In relation to temporary visas:
- An increase of 5.5% in visitor visas granted
- A 10% increase in student visas granted
- 30.5% decrease in temporary work skilled (Subclass 457) visas granted
In terms of a number of temporary visa grants:
- 8,694,048 temporary visas were granted
- 351,516 maritime crew and transit granted
- 378,292 student
- 180,459 temporary resident (other)
- 64,470 temporary resident (skilled)
- 5,639,167 visitor
- 210,456 working holidaymaker
In relation to Citizenship, the annual report shows a 52% drop in the number of Australian citizenship conferrals with 80,562 people being conferred with Australian Citizenship.
In relation to visa compliance, the report states that 99% of temporary entrants maintained their lawful immigration status, whereas visa cancellations remained comparatively steady at 57,440 for the reporting period.
In the area of non-humanitarian visa, refusals increased by 26%.
The complete report can be found at www.homeaffairs.gov.au