I like to treat staff at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection(DIBP) with a lot of respect. I have spoken with many case officers over the phone and most of them are incredibly diligent, excellent problem solvers with an impressive knowledge of immigration law and policy. There is a lot of negativity in the media about the DIBP and/or the associated Minister. However at the end of the day I am primarily concerned with my client and how the case officer perceives them.
Nevertheless it can be a battle to try and do the best thing for my client while up against never-ending legislative changes including regular fee hikes. Once upon a time on a Christmas day I was absolutely determined to work through the public holidays to make sure my client’s application landed at DIBP in the Queensland office before New Years’ day. I felt like Cinderella rushing out before the clock chimes midnight. For should the application land on the door after midnight of the 31st of December the visa application fee would rise a shocking additional $2000 +. It would be just wrong to delay that application causing my client to pay more. I had to squeeze in an entire month worth of work into about two weeks. But, I succeeded!
To make the almost-fairy story work I had to call DIBP. There I was on Christmas Eve, charged up, on fire, ready to make this work and be a hero! I made it through to DIBP over the phone. I discussed the case then went on to empathise how the fee hike must be placing a lot of pressure on the staff as there would be many trying to lodge their applications before the 31st December.
“It’s awful,” said the lethargic sounding staff member, “It’s just awful how the Department raise these fees, prevent people from coming into the country. And the refugees being sent to detention is criminal in my opinion. I have no respect for any of it.”
She sounded forlorn. I become worried to the point that if I didn’t attempt to make this poor soul feel a little better then her Christmas would be miserable. There I was on Christmas Eve cheering up a DIBP staff member over the phone. It was surreal. Just part of the ‘do it before the clock strikes midnight’ atmosphere perhaps. Typically I spend a good deal of time positively encouraging my clients. It is necessary sometimes because of some harsh restrictions immigration law has placed on them and their loved ones – many times the stories are nothing short of tragic. But the coin had flipped and I was encouraging someone from DIBP.
This misery is caused by red tape, ‘excessive bureaucracy or adherence to official rules and formalities’ that no one can point their finger at just one individual for blame. Those who need to obtain visas have to deal with it as best we can. There are countless ‘do it before the clock strikes midnight’ moments when dealing with immigration law. Sometimes this means shuffling around clients to make sure no client suffers adverse consequences. I’ll list 12 bad consequences for you – one for every chime of the clock at midnight!
- visa application charge increases
- missing out on a chance to appeal a refusal decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- fail a deadline and subsequently having the dreaded section 48 ban on applying for visas! (most of them)
- respond to an adverse claim from an anonymous party out to destroy our chance for visa grant
- sometimes you will have until the clock strikes midnight on the 28th day, sometimes the 28th day + 7 days depending on certain factors
- get the application in before midnight when a new legislation will come into effect suddenly making your application a whole lot more difficult to have granted
- lodge your application before midnight lest the visa subclass you are hoping for is ‘capped and queued’ and you are left for years wondering if you may ever be able to apply for it again
- submit your IELTS result certificates now, you can’t use them after midnight of their third year of existence
- Police checks? They only survive one year.
- Standard Business Sponsorships? 3 years but sometimes only 18 months.
- Lodge you visa application before your current one expires – you have until midnight of the last day
- You have your visa, but make sure you enter Australia before midnight of the initial entry date..