Skilled migrants waiting several years for permanent residency applications to be processed

Thousands of skilled migrants living in Australia want to know why their valid applications for permanent residency have not been touched for several years.

The Federal Government has said the Immigration Department is dealing with a large backlog of cases.

Those people at the very bottom of the skilled migration queue are classified as “priority five”.

They have spent thousands of dollars on their applications, which appear to be on hold indefinitely.

One of those applicants is Sydney man Syed Sakib, who desperately wants to be a permanent resident in Australia.

Mr Sakib, 30, applied for a skilled migration visa in 2010 and after five years of waiting, he cannot get an answer on when his application will be processed by the Immigration Department.

“Our situation is we [are] doing everything right, we paid the money, we’re working full-time, we work for the Australian community,” he said.

Mr Sakib moved from Bangladesh in 2007 to study in Wollongong and now works full-time helping refugees to get work placements.

When the former Rudd government was dealing with a backlog of cases in 2009, it changed the rules to cherrypick some occupations over others, instead of processing applications by the date they were lodged.

That meant Mr Sakib’s application was put at the bottom of the pile.

Opal card data surrendered to police and immigration authorities

Transport for NSW has provided police and immigration authorities with access to the personal information of dozens of Opal card users suspected of criminal offences.

Registered Opal cards, which are linked with users’ names, addresses, email and phone contacts and bank accounts, provide the authorities with the ability to track a users’ journeys across the public transport network by time and date.

The first figures on information disclosures to be released by Transport for NSW indicate there have been 166 Law Enforcement Requests from NSW Police, and 15 from the Department of Immigration, since the full rollout of the Opal system in December 2014. Personal information was disclosed on 57 of these requests: 19 for proceedings of an offence, 6 missing persons and 32 on reasonable grounds of an offence, according to a department spokesman.

This compares with almost 11,000 incidents of access to Queensland’s Go Cards, mostly by state police, between 2006 and 2014. \