Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil has reaffirmed a decision to scrap temporary protection visas, but has yet to commit to a time frame for the move.
As the government announced a four-month review into the country's immigration system, Ms O'Neil said there was desire for people on the temporary visas to have permanency.
However, she said the process to scrap the visas would take time.
"We have a number of people living in Australia on temporary protection visas who have been here for more than a decade," she told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.
"We are working through it slowly and carefully."
Ms O'Neil said the review would be critical for the country's workforce, describing the system as it stands as complex and expensive.
"This system is genuinely in a state of disrepair, it has no strategy," she said.
"We've got enormous complexity in the system, literally hundreds of different visa categories and sub-categories."
Long wait times for visa processing will also come into the spotlight as part of the review.
Ms O'Neil said the processing times, some taking two or three years, needed to be examined.
She said the review would help to make Australia more competitive for overseas workers at a time of employee shortages.
"We've spent almost the whole of the last decade in a big conversation about immigration about how to keep people out of our country," Ms O'Neil said.
"We are in a global competition to attract the talent that we need for the future. With the US and Canada and New Zealand and all these other countries, they are rolling out the red carpets for the migrants they need."
Earlier this year, the government increased the permanent migration cap from 160,000 to 195,000 per year, following pressure on workforce numbers.