September 2016: Immigration Client Case Study – The Benefits of Professional Representation
By Simon Delmo
Santa Fe was recently contacted by a client who had lodged a permanent Australian visa application without professional assistance. The brief summary of his situation below highlights the dangers in attempting to manage your own application, as well as the benefits of using a professional consultant. At this time the applicant is still stranded outside Australia. We are currently working towards resolution.
The visa applicant was applying for a skilled independent migration visa, subclass 189. At the time of application he was living in Australia with his partner as the holder of a visitor visa. The visa application was lodged in mid-2015. At that time the applicant was granted a bridging visa ‘A’ which has unlimited work rights. The standard processing time is 3-4 months.
Several things unfolded during the course of this application which could have been avoided if the applicant was professionally represented:
- The applicant included his elderly grandparent (who had health issues) in the application as a dependant, not understanding that this could lead to visa refusal under the ‘one fail all fail’ health provisions.
- The applicant did not know that if he wanted to travel outside Australia and have the right of return that he must obtain a bridging visa ‘B’ prior to travelling.
- The applicant did not know how to properly evidence his case to remove doubt from the case officer’s mind about his employment history.
- When the application started to go wrong, he continued to try to manage it himself, not understanding the consequences.
The applicant departed Australia to return to his home country as the holder of a bridging visa ‘A’, intending to return weeks later. Because he did not apply for a bridging visa ‘B’ before he left Australia he had no right of return – he couldn’t come back to Australia.
The applicant then applied for a visitor visa in an attempt to return to Australia. The application was refused. If he engaged a professional at this time we could have increased the chances of a successful visitor visa application by highlighting to the embassy the specific policy which supports the grant of a visitor visa in these circumstances.
The case officer assessing the application had questions about some of the documents supplied in the application, believing them to be false. The applicant was provided an opportunity to respond, which he did. However, not understanding the seriousness of the case officer’s concerns and the impact it would have on his application the response was inadequate.
The visa was then refused using a power called ‘Public Interest Criteria 4020’ (the ‘fraud’ criterion). Because of this the applicant faced a three year ban from Australia.
The good news is that because the DIBP case officer made errors in the assessment of the case, the decision has been vacated and the application re-opened. It is currently pending decision. We are hopeful of a positive outcome this month. We have also been in communication with the skilled visa processing section and confirmed on behalf of our client that the three year ban no longer applies.
The applicant is still in his home country and considering re-lodging a visitor visa to come back to Australia immediately, this time with Santa Fe’s help. He has been out of work for over one year because of this application and the errors he made in trying to manage the case himself.
Immigration can be a complex area to navigate, particularly for someone who has never been exposed to it. And while visa applicants are able to lodge their own visa application, to ensure that your application has the best chance of success and that any possible issues are identified early, it is highly recommended that you use the services of an experienced registered migration agent.