As with most questions about processing times with the Immigration Department, the answer is – it depends.
– if your application is considered ‘Low Risk’, estimated processing time is 2 months.
– if your application is considered ‘High Risk’, estimated processing time is 3 months.
The main factors that are relevant to processing time are:
– The risk rating given to your application;
– Whether your sponsor is a member of the Accredited Sponsors Scheme; and
– Other intangible factors (See below).
The risk rating given to your application
The Department assesses each application for ‘risk’ – relevantly, their goal is to ensure that all workers granted a visa will comply with all their visa conditions, including remaining employed for the duration and making a positive commitment to the Australian economy. It also seeks to ensure individuals granted visas to not overstay.
In practice, this means that the country you apply from will be relevant – if you are from a country that is considered low-risk based on historical experience, your application is likely to be processed faster.
Whether your sponsor is a member of the Accredited Sponsors Scheme
If your sponsor company is accredited with the Department, it will mean that your application, and their application to sponsor you, will automatically rise to the top of the processing pile. You can read more about the Accredited Sponsors Scheme in this article.
Other intangible factors
The Department’s guidance states that 75 percent of applications are completed within the estimated processing time (as outlined above).
This leaves one quarter of applications that will not be completed within these time frames. There is no guidance on which applications will be held up or in what circumstances, and no guarantee of a maximum time frame. If your application is held up because of a security assessment, for example, it can take many months for a decision to be made.
Nonetheless, these circumstances are rare and in most cases delays will result from minor hiccups that can be resolved by ensuring continual cooperation with Department officers.