An Australian Citizen came to AGS Migration Agent – Ms. Minh Nguyen to sponsor her Fijian partner on an offshore partner visa (Subclass 309/100). The couple had been married for 1 year and had a child together so we asked for the partner visa to be processed straight through to the permanent stage (subclass 100). They had substantial evidence to prove their genuine relationship and the application was quite straight forward.
However, in Aug 2017, the visa applicant (husband) had received a call from an Immigration officer at the Australian High Commission in Suva stating that the partner application was being put on hold because his brother had overstayed in Australia and that
- if he did not tell them the location of his brother, OR
- if his brother did not come into an Immigration office in Australia to apply for a visa to depart immediately,
Then the Australian High Commission in Suva would not continue to process the client’s partner application and his future with his young family will be negatively affected!
Ms. Minh wrote a very lengthy submission the delegates at the Australian High Commission in Suva, advising them that
- The act of calling the client and advising him that his partner application will be suspended if he didn’t provide information on his brother’s location is NOT in accordance with Australian migration laws.
- The information they wanted from the client was both IRRELEVANT and IMMATERIAL to the processing of his partner application under Section 57 of The Migration Act 1958 (Cth).
- The suspension of processing the partner application was ILLEGAL under Section 84(3) of the same legislative instrument.
Thankfully, after the exchange, we finally received “Grant Notification” for the Partner Visa. Our client had been granted PERMANENT RESIDENCY!
This experience has really taught us that absolutely everyone, from migration agents, to visa applicants, sponsors, and especially visa processing officers (delegates to the Minister of Immigration) need to be held accountable under Australian migration law and practice.
A simple phone call could change the course of someone’s future and it is always advisable to seek a legal opinion when you’re dealing with people in the public service because they are, like you and I, only human and can make grave mistakes if they are not held accountable to the same laws they apply to visa applicants.
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