It comes after multiple major study destinations found themselves dealing with crippling visa delays in 2022, when numbers surged as the world gradually emerged from the pandemic.
The improvement, according to a spokesperson from the department of home affairs, was achieved through a $48.1m allocation of funds over 12 months from the country’s budget and a series of other moves to help fix the visa delays.
“Almost 600 new staff [were] recruited between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, and are now supporting temporary and migration visa processing,” the spokesperson told The PIE News.
“Processing on-hand visa applications is a government priority. In most instances, the department of home affairs has reduced the time it takes to finalise visa applications.
“These actions have already reduced the number of student visa applications on-hand and improved student visa processing times,” the spokesperson continued.
In a LinkedIn post, Austrade lauded the news for international students, reiterating that the processing time had been knocked down to 16 days.
Responding to The PIE, the home affairs department said that the median figure was even lower, at 13 days.
Despite the encouraging figures, the department did warn that it was not an indication for students to become complacent about applying for visas.
“Processing times are impacted by cases that are complex, changes to the volume of applications and changes to Ministerial Directions.
“The department recommends that student visa applicants located outside Australia apply for their visa at least eight weeks before their course starts,” the spokesperson said.
“Processing on-hand visa applications is a government priority”
Study Gold Coast, one of the leading regional centres for attracting international students to Australia, told The PIE that backlogs have “been cleared” and processing times are now “in line with expectations”.
“This is not being raised by our members as a current issue,” the spokesperson confirmed.