Labor to prioritise new asylum seeker claims as part of $160m package to tackle backlog

Paul Karp Chief political correspondent The Guardian Australia

@Paul_KarpThu 5 Oct 2023 01.00 AEDT

The Albanese government will attempt to turn the tables on people making unmeritorious asylum claims by shifting to a “last in, first out” application processing system.

The immigration minister, Andrew Giles, will announce a $160m package to tackle the backlog of asylum claims, including $54m to prioritise processing new claims, an attempt to break the business model of those suggesting junk claims as a means to remain in Australia.

The Nixon review, released on Wednesday, found that people traffickers and those seeking to exploit migrants are taking advantage of the refugee protection system because claims can grant up to a decade in Australia.

That is due to a 2.4-year average processing time for claims, a further 3.6 years for merits review and three to five for judicial review.

In January Guardian Australia reported that the Refugee Council was concerned that a massive backlog for processing and review of asylum claims was creating an incentive for unmeritorious applications.

The government claims it can process new claims in as fast as seven weeks for genuine refugees, and that “real-time” processing starting with the latest applications will be fairer without harming those already in the queue.