The Department of Immigration is not always right!

  • Sharebar

This article is to highlight to you the many ways the Department of Immigration staff gets things wrong, and how it may negatively affect you. Many people blindly believe everything the Department tells them because the person works for the Department of Immigration. Don’t!

We see every day the mistakes they make and the terrible effect this has on applicants who are not professionally represented.

What sort of things?

In all honesty, we see things almost daily where the Department made serious errors. Here are just a few examples of things that happened recently:

Example 1:

We had a client who called the Department’s 131 phone number for advice before they engaged our services. The client was an international student who had just finished her course. She wanted to apply for skilled migration in Australia, but during the process she needed to travel to her home country (China) and then come back to Australia.

The advice she received was incorrect and directly resulted in her becoming unlawful. We were able to fix this for our client (we eventually obtained Citizenship for her), but the process to fix the error took months and was quite stressful for the client, who believed she may have lost her opportunity for permanent residence because of this.

Example 2:

We regularly see visa grant letters which have the wrong conditions on them. For example, on the same day as I was writing this article, I had a client whose visa read that she had “NIL” conditions, where in fact she should have, by operation of law, had a work restriction condition on her visa. The interesting thing is that even if the condition does not appear in your visa grant letter – it still applies to your visa!

If the client just believed the information from the Department, she could be working unlawfully. This could then have put her next visa application in jeopardy because many visas have a requirement which states that you must substantially comply with the conditions on your previous visa, even if you didn’t know the condition was on your visa!

Example 3:

I recently had a client who was entitled to be granted a bridging visa with work rights. It was a complex situation. The client attended the Department on my instructions and applied for her work rights. The Departmental officer refused to grant the works rights and charged her money when she should not have been charged.

I was able to contact the manager of the appropriate section to advise him that the officer had made an error. At first the manager didn’t agree, so he sought advice from the Department’s legal section in Canberra. It took them a week to get their end sorted out, and as it turned out, I was right. My client received a full refund for the incorrect charge and was allowed work rights, as she was legally entitled to.

Others:

These are just a few of the many examples we see. Other common scenarios are, for example, where a case officer asks for things from clients which are beyond the scope of the law. If you don’t know what they can legally ask for, you are vulnerable.

Possible effects:

The effect of incorrect information can be wide ranging. In some cases, it can mean loss of work rights where you should have them or it could leave you breaching visa conditions that you don’t even know exist and that you have not been advised about. In some cases, it can lead directly to your visa being refused or cancelled.

Evidence

I could bore you with a large volume of statistics to evidence for you that the Department does not always get things right. Rather than do that, I will just drop in a couple of interesting figures for you. For example, did you know that in the 2012/13 financial year…

53% of people who had a partner visa refused by the Department had the decision “set aside” at the Migration Review Tribunal? That is – for over half of the visas that were refused the Tribunal did not agree with the decision to refuse!

Likewise, 56% of visitor visa refusals were set aside by the Migration Review Tribunal. 56%!

These are just a couple of examples to illustrate my point—not everything that the Department does or tells you is accurate. Don’t just blindly believe it.

Why does this happen?

Mistakes happen for many reasons. These include:

Complex regulations:

Visa regulations are extraordinarily complex. There is so much detail and so much to consider in every situation that sometimes mistakes just happen. Adding to the challenge is that regulations are constantly changing; even good decision makers who deal with this day to day make mistakes from time to time.

People make mistakes:

The Department is made up of approximately 7000 people; some are new employees who may be answering calls and providing information within days of being employed. Many have large caseloads, so things can get missed because they have big backlogs of work, or accidentally use wrong templates.

Training:

Training is also an issue in some cases. Because regulations change so often, sometimes it takes awhile for all the training to filter down through the organisation. In this gap period, mistakes can be made.

It’s not all bad…

As you can see, the Department of Immigration (like any organisation that is comprised of people), makes mistakes. It is also important to note that there are some very sharp, dedicated people at the Department who, for the most part, make good decisions. But it is nevertheless a fact that mistakes happen. It is therefore important not to just rely on information you receive from the Department blindly.

The important thing to understand is that by engaging professional representation, you will know whether any mistakes have been made in your case, and if they have what you can do to resolve the issue. We can help you understand what is accurate for your situation. Your visa is your future; make sure you get it right.

By the way, the other agents at National Visas and I have a monthly competition where we try to beat each other’s Facebook shares, so if you have found this article helpful, please share it using the icon visible on the left-hand side of this page.

I look forward to being able to help you with your visa situation in the future.

If you are looking for a place to start with us, a quick Skype consultation is a good way to get some initial direction.

John Bell
General Manager and Senior Migration Agent
MARN 0321386

Note: Source of statistics: http://www.mrt-rrt.gov.au/Forms-and-publications/Statistics.aspx

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • DZone
  • Ping.fm
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Popular Articles

Study in Australia: 10 Basic Steps You Should Know

TweetSharebar TweetAustralia, one of the top five best countries to study in the world, offers sought-after quality education on top of exciting cultural diversity. Proof of delivery on this promise is the fact that five Australian universities have made it to the top 100 of the 400-plus higher education institutions worldwide ranked by Times Higher [...]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • DZone
  • Ping.fm
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks