Minor issue – big trouble

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A new hard line stance is being taken by the Department of Border Protection, as previously minor issues are now causing visas to be refused or cancelled.

The examples below are real cases.

Issue 1: Character

A Canadian working holiday applicant who is now 24. At the age of 18 was caught in the USA with alcohol (personal use), otherwise no issues at all. He now has to go through a complete police clearance process in the USA and Canada. In the past (for WHMs at least), the declaration of this ‘offence’ was sufficient and the Visa would have been approved within a week.

In another case we had a WHM applicant who had been caught in Australia while holding a 485 with a small amount of cannabis for personal use. The offence was the only one she has ever had. Her penalty was 18 months’ probation.  This incident was 18 months prior to making the WHM application. Again (we handle hundreds of WHMs), this low level offence in the past would have required nothing more than a declaration on the form. In this case DIBP required a complete submission as follows:

We provided a 35 page submission showing concrete steps taken since the incident including having completed two separate drug awareness courses (each course was several months long). We provided references from her counsellors, a clear Japan police clearance, an AFP clearance with just this minor conviction, showed that she had taken other steps such as immediately after the incident moving house away from what she called her ‘fake friends’ and the party scene and a range of other supporting material.

The Visa was 501 refused (6d).

We called the Character section about this harsh decision and explained that in the past this would have sailed through. The person we spoke with stated that this is the new clear instruction from this Minister, especially on any drug related offences (even if very minor).

Issue 2: Border cancellations

We have also had a couple of clients who have had their Visas cancelled at the border recently. It will likely come as no surprise to many people that DIBP border staff are red hot on checking people’s phone messages as a means of determining their purpose of stay in Australia. This is a common catalyst for refusal of entry, Visa cancellation and PIC 4013.

In what is, as far as our history with DIBP goes, an unusual turn, we just had a student refused entry and visa cancelled at the border also. In this case, the student had completed her course in normal time, had been for a short visit home (Thailand) and was returning with the intention of further study. She had 3 weeks left on her 572 and was planning on applying for a 573.

When asked at the border she stated that her intention was to enrol in a course and apply for a new student Visa. The border staff asked if she had a CoE. She didn’t. The staff then checked PRISMS to make sure and as she didn’t, cancelled her Visa (again, now PIC 4013 affected). In this case, the Visa holder had a spouse in Australia who was s140 cancelled as a consequence. She had her phone confiscated (returned as she was boarding her flight) and was not allowed to call her husband (or anyone else) who was completely unaware of what happened until the Visa holder got back to Thailand and was able to make contact. She was also forbidden to call her migration agent during this time.

Obviously now a desperate situation for her. She now has a 3 year ban and is currently separated from her husband. Her husband (who also studied in Australia and has been employed here for the last 4 years) is in Australia, separated from his wife, UNC (about to be BV’d), but now terribly affected also.

To our knowledge it is very common for students to travel at the end of their course, come back and apply for another Visa (485, 600 for graduation, new student Visa, 189, 457 etc) and that students in this situation generally don’t have too many issues at the airport.

Given this case we recommend that you have a CoE before attempting to re-enter as this may help.

Reduce the risk.

To reduce the risk of this new policy directive from DIBP affecting you, please consider using a Registered Migration Agent. The examples provided are just a window into how easy it can be to get unknowingly into a terrible situation. At National Visas, we have experienced Registered Migration Agents who will provide you with all the assistance you need in making a visa application. We are proud of our work and our successful history record providing online immigration services for more than 10 years and our agents have a combined experience of over 20 years in the industry!

Would you like help with your visa application?

You can start the process by taking a free online assessment here.

I look forward to helping you turn your Australian permanent residence dream into a reality.

National Visas’ registered migration agents are skilled, dedicated migration professionals—we’d love to help you achieve your dream.

I invite you to check what others have said about us on our testimonials page.

Regards,

John Bell
Migration Advisor
MARN: 0321386

 

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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