The Business and investment program was intended to attract wealthy immigrants to invest in Australia and drive economic growth. Business visa applicants face delays in processing their visas and have to delay their critical life decision-making, including business investment, property sales, etc. Delays in visa processing can occur for various reasons, including a high volume of applications, changes in immigration policies, staffing issues, security checks, and administrative challenges. These delays affect individuals and have broader implications for the country’s economic growth and investment climate. I want to analyse this unacceptable delay in business visa processing time.
Immigration policy: “The Australian government has already made its mind up in relation to the direction that the Australian migration program will take by the closing of business investor and entrepreneur visas.” The current government’s stance on business visas is unfriendly. The current labour government has shifted its focus to addressing shortages of critical skilled workers leading to longer processing times for business visa applications.
“Australia largely withstood the global economic hurdles of 2022; unemployment rate drops to 3.5 per cent, and the economy grew about 6 per cent in 12 months while the inflation and interest rate is rising rapidly.” The investment brought by the business visa holder is no longer needed.
“Following two years of closed borders during the pandemic, Australians appear to be shifting towards more openness to immigration. “ While there is still a third of Australians believe the immigration should be lower than pre-Covid levels, compared with 2017 47% of Australians said immigration levels were too high, Australian’s attitude toward immigration is becoming more favourable.
“AI deployment rapidly advances through different policy domains, particularly migration.” The advantages of utilising quicker, more advanced technologies, such as AI, to support migration and visa processing are evident.
Environmental and Legal factors
The Australian Business visa program is a two steps program for Permanent residents. The first step is to get a provisional business visa subclass 188. Then after the temporary business visa holder meets the requirements stipulated on their provisional 188 visas, they can apply for the second stage subclass 888 Permanent visa. The processing time now for these visas is unbearably long. For subclass 188 visas, the program’s processing time is about three years. For subclass 888 visas, the processing time is also about three years.
Empathy map for business visa applicants
Think and feel
The business visa applicant, most of them, are entrepreneurs. They think they bring investment to Australia and employment and should be treated fairly. The delay in visa processing time makes them disappointed and frustrated.
They hear the Australian government will abolish the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP).
They see other visa category applicants get visas processed faster while their visa applications are left behind from information on government websites.
The hearsay rumours online that the Australian government will close business visas.
They see their friends’ business visa application takes ages, and their career prospects have been put on hold.
Business visa applicants in Australia protest against the visa processing time and hope their visa application can be finalised quickly.
They say: “the uncertain future is affecting their personal and business plan” and “it is a humble request to the government to give them the visa they deserve”.
What do they need to do?
It might be helpful to contact the appropriate immigration authorities or seek assistance from legal experts who specialise in immigration matters. They need to find other possible ways to get the visa, find other visa solutions if possible, and prepare for the worst if the Australian government decides to abolish the whole visa category.
Delays in visa processing can significantly impact individuals’ plans and decisions, especially when it comes to critical life decisions like business investments and property sales. Such delays can create uncertainty and may even deter potential investors from pursuing opportunities in the country. I want to analyse the business visa holder’s contribution to Australia and discover why “business visa holder tends to earn meagre incomes in Australia”. Is it fair to say they do not deserve their visa because their contribution is miserable? I also want to review the submission papers from stakeholders for reviewing the business, innovation, and investment program to find the explanation for this discrepancy and offer my solution for a better business visa program. I argue that if the government could see the whole picture of the business visa holders’ contributions from different perspectives, it would have more incentive to process this visa category faster.
 ‘Federal Government’s Stealth “Closure” of Australian Business, Investor and Entrepreneur Visas’, Work Visa Lawyers <https://www.workvisalawyers.com.au/news/all/federal-government-s-stealth-closer-of-australian-business-investor-and-entrepreneur-visas.html>.
 ‘Australia’s Economy Recovered in 2022, Will It Crash in 2023?’, ABC News (online, 20 December 2022) <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-21/australia-economy-recovered-in-2022-will-it-crash-in-2023/101705402>.
 Lowy Institute, ‘Attitudes to Immigration – Lowy Institute Poll’, Lowy Institute Poll 2023 <https://poll.lowyinstitute.org/charts/attitudes-to-immigration/>.
 ‘AI in Migration Is Fuelling Global Inequality: How Can We Bridge the Gap?’, World Economic Forum (25 January 2023) <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/01/ai-in-migration-is-fuelling-global-inequality-how-can-we-bridge-gap/> (‘AI in Migration Is Fuelling Global Inequality’).
 ‘“A Matter of Fairness”: “Golden Ticket” Visa Holders Protest against Permanent Residency Processing Time’, ABC News (online, 16 June 2023) <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-16/significant-investor-subclass-888-visa-holders-protest/102490038> (‘“A Matter of Fairness”’).
 ‘The $119 Billion Free Lunch’, Grattan Institute <https://grattan.edu.au/news/the-119-billion-free-lunch/>.