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As for strain Frank, that is a personal issue and it is only natural for a government to have a certain ammount of people available to process so many visas a year. 54,000 a year, a 1000 a week and you reckon that's pathetic! It is certainly not the reason for a visa taking the length it does and if they had more, you may even wait longer!
It would be disingenuous for the government to claim that 'it only has a certain amount of people to process visas'. Immigration caps are a deliberate policy decision implemented by the government. If it wants to process more visas, it can. It is not impossible for it to expand its visa processing operations if it so chooses. Afterall the processing costs are paid for by those who apply and not the consolidated revenue of the Peoples Republic of Australia.

It would also be disingenuous to claim that the processing times occur irrespective of the immigration caps. Given that processing times have significantly increased over the last year it is pretty hard not to draw a connection. It seems many people are being told they wont be assigned a case officer, or have to wait after being told they are seen as a genuine couple. Even if there were no correlation, it would make one question what you get for your money. I'm confident a fairly productive person could spend less than five solid days processing a single application, third party processing aside. With the fee being $1700 I think there are ample financial resources to cover the administration costs minus the ten month wait.

The question is not so much about processing procedures, or how many immigrants we should have, but rather that we even have limits at all. Migration numbers are exogenously determined by some bureaucrat far removed from the people they affect. Immigration should be endogenous to the amount of people that meet a set of requirements. For example, if you are a genuine refugee with no alternative place to live, then you should be granted refugee status. If you are in a genuine relationship with your partner then you should be granted a partner visa. If you are a skilled worker with a skillset that an Australian employer demands then you should receive a visa. If there are more applicants than Australia can adequately accept, then the immigration standards should be altered such that we receive only those most deserving of migration status. Of course this is as subjective a question as plucking an intake number out of thin air, but at least there can be some rationale to the process.

But in reality, I doubt that Australia cannot accept twice if not three times what it currently receives. The vast majority of economic research into immigration suggests positive economic benefits for a country. In terms of infrastructure it also allows us to achieve a critical mass that we might not otherwise be able to achieve, thus affording us the opportunity to develop the transport, communications and water systems that we so desperately need. Living in China has made me laugh at anyone who suggests that we don't have enough infrastructure to accommodate more people. The truth is that Australia doesn't have enough people to accommodate more and indeed better infrastructure.

Of course this is a digression from the practical issues and questions of this forum, but as we all wait for our respective visas to be granted for either ourselves or our loved ones, it is nice to dream of how these things could be a little more human.
 

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G,day Frank SS and Turtlecouple,
How did you go with your Visa applications? I am married to a lady in China and we applied for a Sub Class 309 Visa on 2 November 2010. The case officer wrote in January this year that applications for Partner visas processing time is 10 months.
 

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A lot of visa processing times have blown out somewhat Malcom and China and partner visas are no exception though some strange things appear to be happening in India for whatever reason and Immi may need to have a close look at practices there.
There is an India wide agency of sorts that Immi people may be using as a defacto processor and then just rubber stamping applications, not a good scene at all if so.

There are a number of reasons that visa processing could slow and the numbers in the queue or annual budgetted allocation being approached being prime ones.
 

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G,day Frank SS and Turtlecouple,
How did you go with your Visa applications? I am married to a lady in China and we applied for a Sub Class 309 Visa on 2 November 2010. The case officer wrote in January this year that applications for Partner visas processing time is 10 months.
We applied around mid December and have been told that a decision will be made in mid March. So thats not too bad. Three months I guess?

I get the feeling that what they tell you (10 months) is really to prevent people from having unrealistic expectations. Even from the get go we were told that 10 months is not likely but that 6 months was more realistic. I suppose in light of the time it took us, even 6 months was conservative.

That being said, this forum does suggest that there are plenty of people waiting a lot longer than we will have so it might depend on the nature of the application and consulate. Which consulate were you applying at?
 

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my partner and i have just applied to the Shanghai for a 309. Bit of an odd situation; she is english and we moved to mongolia for work a couple of years ago and so had to apply through Shanghai Consulate. have just been issued a case officer so hopefully things motor on reasonably smoothly, we've only been asked to supply an ACPO police check from the UK which should be pretty easy as she's there visiting family at the moment; first kid due in december so hoping application will be processed to allow us a bit of leeway to fly back. otherwise, plan b.........
 

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I also found out that there are only 54,000 Family stream visa places available in 2010-2011 Year- includes partner visas from every country in the world to Australia.
EVERYONE please note, there is no cap on 309 Visas.

This from the Immigration website.

Cap and queue
The Migration Act 1958 (the Act), allows the Minister to 'cap' or limit the number of visas which can be granted each year in a particular visa subclass.

This limit, or cap, applies only for the migration program year in which it is introduced. When a cap is reached, applicants then wait in a queue for visa grant consideration in a following year, subject to places becoming available.

This means that when the number of visas set by the Minister for a visa class for the migration program year has been reached, no further visas can be granted in that program year.

Family Stream
Partner category visas:

Partner (subclasses 309/100 and 820/801) visas cannot be capped.
Prospective Marriage (fiancé) (subclass 300) visas may be subject to capping.
 
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