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Prioritizing the delays in Australia visa application

Andrew Giles, Australia's new immigration minister, has chastised the previous Morrison administration for neglecting immigration functions. He also claimed at the FECCA 2022 conference that the new government is striving to reduce the wait time for parent visas.

Andrew Giles, the newly sworn-in Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, gave his first speech at the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) Conference, which is now taking place in Melbourne, on June 16.

Minister Giles, speaking exclusively to SBS Hindi, stated unequivocally that the incoming administration was committed to addressing the existing visa backlog.

"Dealing with the neglect and gridlock of the visa system, as well as citizenship processes, that has resulted from a long period of neglect of our nation's immigration functions under the Liberal government," he said.

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"Prime Minister Albanese and I are focused on eliminating the backlog first, and I have spoken with departments and officials on a regular basis to ensure that this is a top priority."

"With such countless people isolated for such a long time because of the pandemic, I don't figure we can pressure the worth of this." Mr. Giles proceeded, "Those individual connections should be remade."

The minister also mentioned the time it takes for people in line to become Australian citizens.

"My last concern is that such a large number of Australians have held up unreasonably lengthy to become residents. He added, "That is something more that should be dealt with."

"The fact that too many individuals have waited for years, that's just unacceptable," the minister said, describing Australian citizenship as a combination of a lengthy journey, a crucial and sometimes beautiful event in people's life.

"What I am concerned [about] is to ensuring that we rebalance our immigration system across the board to [a] higher preference for permanent forms of migration," Mr. Giles replied in response to a question concerning talented temporary workers being awarded permanent status.

Mr. Giles also expressed confidence in the new government's commitment to working on parent visas. For the Indian-Australian community, this has been a major source of anxiety.

"This is a huge concern for a lot of people, including a lot of people in my electorate," he said.

He represents Melbourne's Scullin electoral division, which includes Epping, Thomastown, Bundoora, Lalor, Mill Park, and South Morang, all of which have a major Indian-origin community.

"It's something that we're undertaking some comprehensive work on because it's a difficult subject that demands a strategy that will involve a deep consultation with communities and design work in departments," Minister Giles said of the backlog in citizenship applications.

Mr. Giles praised the FECCA 2022 conference, saying the Labor government will "work towards a country in which everyone truly belongs, where everyone is appreciated, respected, and proud of who they are."

Former immigration minister Dan Tehan was among the other speakers during the conference's opening and plenary sessions. Mr. Tehan was a member of Prime Minister Morrison's cabinet until around a month ago and is now the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Mr. Tehan told SBS Hindi that the present visa backlog is a result of the pandemic, and that "the incoming government needs to move rapidly to address the issue." He was a member of the Morrison administration at the time and held the immigration and citizenship portfolio.

"Obviously, one of our commitments, when we were in office, was to ensure that we disposed of that build-up, and we had set up additional assets to ensure that we did," Mr. Tehan added.

FECCA and the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria are co-hosting the two-day event (ECCV). At the conference, which this year's topic is 'Advancing Multicultural Australia,' a broad mix of multicultural leaders, delegates, young and new voices, as well as academics, have convened.

Over 100 speakers will talk on a variety of topics, including racism, health-care reform, disability, identity, and diversity.

Governor-General of Australia David Hurley spoke at the conference and gave the opening address.

"I'm present here for a particular reason — to support the heads of the ethnic communities represented here to consider naming individuals for acknowledgment under the Order of Australia," Mr. Hurley told SBS Hindi. We really want to work on the Order's variety as well as the number of selections received."