ENS/RSMS visa refusals double in a year

Recently, another batch of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests were released by the Department of Home Affairs on their website. FOI disclosure logs throw up a mixed bag of information. Some requests are admittedly strange, others are a great source of information.

While some statistics on visa applications are published on a regular basis, others need to be requested. Data for visa refusals are one.

An FOI application requested the numbers for visas lodged and refused for a number of different subclasses for the financial years from 2014 to 2017.

Crunching the numbers, the most startling is that employer sponsored permanent visa refusals more than doubled in a year despite no remarkable change to the number of applications lodged. These are, of course, Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme visas (refusals up 110%) and Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visas (refusals up 112%). While both subclasses saw an increase in applications lodged, 12 and 16 per cent respectively, there seems to be no plausible explanation as to why these subclasses saw such an increase in visa refusals.

Furthermore, without the just finished programme year statistics, it cannot be ruled out that a similar hardlined approach has continued.

Other interesting things to note:

  • 457 nomination refusals spiked by 31 per cent in 2015/16 before decreasing slightly the next year. That being said, the gross numbers refused remained high compared to the 2014/15 year. A summary on occupation refusals during that time has been previously reported,
  • Subclass 601 – ETA visas won the award for the biggest increase percentage in refusals at 134 per cent, although the number of refusals are insignificant compared to the numbers lodged and presumably approved,
  • There has been an overall steady increase in student and visitor visa applications lodged,
  • Partner visa application lodgements dipped 17 per cent for 2015/16 year, most likely due to the 50 per cent increase in application fees for the onshore Subclass 820/801 – Partner visa that occurred on 1 January 2015.

Statistical data on refusals should be of particular interest as they tend to demonstrate the effect of changes to immigration policy as it is not expected visas are lodged with the intention to be refused.