Visa Processing Times

One common surprise for employers and employees is the increase in the time the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is taking to assess and approve 457 visa applications.

Currently it is taking 2 -3 months, meaning that good forward planning is required in order to ensure recruits from overseas can take up their new roles without disruption to the organisation’s activities.

One factor contributing to slowing the process may be the change in The Department to “pooled files” away from case officer appointment for each application. This can have the effect of reducing personal accountability and hence slower review times.

DIBP very recently updated its guidance on processing times that can be expected, and suggests 30 working days (6 weeks), however it is unclear why they have provided guidance that is so different to current practice.

It is possible to make a request for Priority Processing, however DIBP do not consider all Priority Requests as urgent as they receive too many. If a priority request is not answered in 2-3 business days then the application is not considered as urgent by the Department. No formal notification of this is sent to applicants.


It is interesting to compare processing times ( for the most common visa category for international assignments) with some other countries in our region:

Typical processing times

Australia                                                              2 – 3 months

China                                                                     2 – 3 months

Japan                                                                    1 – 2 months

New Zealand                                                     5 weeks

Singapore                                                            1 – 2 weeks

[Source: Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group, December 2015]

For more information please contact Susan Stinson, Manager Visa Services at 61 2 9955 3300, or