The Kafkaesque absurdity of Peter Dutton’s dysfunctional Home Affairs Department has come to this: Australians are increasingly stuck in offshore limbo by a partner visa system guaranteed to generate ever-longer processing times with no regard for the suitability of otherwise of the people involved.

A quick example? A woman who has a PhD in economics from the University of WA, married to an Australian and the mother of an Australian, is forbidden entry into Australia while caught in a two-years-and-growing queue to have her partner visa application processed.

Her fifth-generation Australian husband also is eminently qualified and highly employable as an actuary.

If he renounced his Australian citizenship and applied for a skills visa, odds are he would be able to bring his young family to Australia more quickly and cheaply than joining the partner visa queue.

This is a queue that is expensive to join – $8000 please – and has no respect or care for individual circumstances.

It doesn’t matter how strong or weak the case is for a visa.

And the simple mathematics of the system’s administration means it gets worse by the day.

The Department of Home Affairs 2018-19 immigration program report last week showed that, in round numbers, 60,000 partners of Australians paid their money last year to join the queue of 90,000 people for one of 40,000 partner visas issued each year – the reduced cap set by Mr Dutton in 2017-18.

The department approves 90 per cent of applications and knocks back about 10 per cent, a proportion that has been steady for years.

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