Some Australian Immigration Myths Busted!

some australian immigration myths busted

Written by Belinda Christie

You have 28 days to leave the country after your visa has ceased and you will be fine

Absolutely not!  You have just overstayed your visa if you leave after your visa has ceased.  The department of immigration and border protection gives you a date to leave the country for a reason.  It is true you wont have an exclusion period if the visa you held was a substantive visa (not a bridging visa) but it is still a black mark against your name.  It shows you are incapable of adhering to your visa conditions and this may prevent you from being granted further visas to Australia or may result in you having your visa cancelled if you arrive back into Australia.  You will be stopped when leaving the airport so you will come to the attention of an Immigration Officer. Notes will be placed on your file that you could not comply.

I have a 12 month entry 3 month stay multiple entry so I can just go to Bali or New Zealand for a couple of days and return to Australia

Not necessarily! This is known as “visa running” and is frowned upon by the Department.  You have probably already spent 1 or 2 years on a working holiday visa or you just spent 3 months on a tourist visa.  This is considerable time as a tourist in Australia and by going offshore for a short period will definitely bring you to the attention of Immigration officers.  I cancelled many visas of client’s undertaking this process. Even though you hold a visa it does not mean you are a genuine visitor. This is likely to be assessed when you re-enter Australia.  Policy states that as a visitor you should remain offshore for the amount of time you remained onshore. You are not allowed to live in Australia on tourist visas. Even if you have children or a partner in Australia or are trying to obtain sponsorship for work you should consider obtaining a more appropriate visa.  You can contact Christie Migration Agents, leading Australian migration agents in Melbourne, to help with this process if need be.

Immigration officers are out to get me

Definitely not true!  Immigration officers are just doing their job and are bound my legislation.  Of course there is discretion in some cases but this does not mean an officer can make any decision they choose.  There are still policy guidelines and directives to follow. Many officers have been working for the Department for a long time and can also read people and situations well.  Do you think you are the first student to say you didn’t attend classes because you were depressed? Or you were “volunteering” at a restaurant to help out? When I was working for the Department I would hear the same excuses time and time again and you soon learn what a non-genuine client looks like.  But then again it also allows you to develop the skill for genuine clients. Keep in mind it is much easier to grant a visa than refuse it. It is much easier for a client to keep their visa rather than have it cancelled. So an officer would much rather grant your visa or not cancel it than go through all the time and effort to make a decision to refuse or cancel because they are “out to get you”.  Sure some officers can be grumpy and appear not to like you, but all decisions have to be fair and reasonable and lawful so it does not come down to their opinion of you. So don’t be afraid of the officers or think of them in a negative light, they are just doing their job.

If I get married I can stay in Australia

Not necessarily.  Just because you married an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or even someone on a student or business visa, does not automatically mean you can stay in Australia.  There are processes that must be adhered to. Firstly, you need to apply for the correct visa which may be a partner visa, or be added as a dependant to a temporary visa holder.  You will then need to be assessed for your genuineness in that relationship. This will include having your previous immigration history assessed. It doesn’t look good if you have overstayed your visa or you are about to have a visa cancelled and then suddenly you marry someone.  Although you may be a genuine couple, it will be a harder case to prove to the department that you didn’t just marry someone to remain in Australia. Also the length of your relationship and how you met will be assessed. Again, the department is looking for any evidence that you have just married someone for a visa.  They might come to your home unexpectedly or look through your social media accounts. Keep in mind the department is pretty good with their investigations and if you give them a reason to think you might not be genuine they will likely find out. But again, if you are genuine then you will be easily assessed and have your visa granted.  Having the above circumstances does not necessarily mean you will not be granted a visa either. People meet and marry quickly even without the need for a visa and this is taken into account. When I used to assess partner visas or dependant visas, I realised I had to re-evaluate what a genuine relationship looks like as many cultures have different values and practices than Australians do.  So just because you have special circumstances will not automatically mean your visa will be refused. But if you want remain in Australia after marrying, you need to apply for an appropriate visa and be in a genuine ongoing relationship.

Student visas are a great way to have a working holiday

No!  Student visas are for studying in Australia.  Yes they allow you to work up to 40 hours a fortnight when school is in session and unlimited hours when school is out but the main purpose for obtaining a student visa is to study.  I cancelled countless student visas at the airport for non-genuine students who were not attending classes and were spending their time working. Even if you don’t work in excess of your allowable work hours, this doesn’t mean anything if you are not enrolled or not attending classes, or even not progressing in your course.  Education providers have an obligation to report their students who are not attending classes or have unsatisfactory course progress to the department. This means you are at risk of having your visa cancelled. Further, even if you don’t have your visa cancelled and you apply for further visas, the department has the ability to check your academic progress and record and if it appears you were a non-genuine student you will most likely not have any further visas granted.  So if you think that applying for a student visa is a great way of remaining in Australia and working as your primary purpose, think again.

If I provide fraudulent information for a second 417 visa no one will find out

Never provide fraudulent information to the Department!  Although it is true the department has fewer resources for checking regional work than it does applications, but when applying keep in mind the department randomly checks visa applicants regional work.  Also, if you are ever questioned at the airport (which can happen at any time on arrival or departure at the airport) they may conduct a check and if it is found you have provided fraudulent information, you will not only have your visa cancelled, you are at risk of being prosecuted.  It is a crime under Australian law to provide false information or documents to the department. Also, those that supplied the false documents can also be prosecuted. It is not worth the risk. At the very least your chances of ever being granted a further visa in the future can be slim to none after providing fraudulent information.  If you provided false information once, why would the department believe you haven’t supplied fraudulent information again. If you have not completed your regional work for a second working holiday visa, I advise that the consequences are too great and it is too risky to lie to the Department.

If I have a baby in Australia they will be an Australian citizen

Not necessarily.  Unlike other countries such as the United States of America, you do not automatically gain citizenship just by being born in Australia.  The only way to gain citizenship by birth is to be born to one parent who is a proven Australian citizen or permanent resident. Sometimes the department will request  DNA test if they don’t believe the father on the birth certificate is actually the birth father. Also, keep in mind, those born to New Zealand citizens on a subclass 444 visa (which are most New Zealanders) will not be an Australian citizen.  The subclass 444 visa is a temporary visa granted to New Zealand passport holders each time they arrive to Australia. If you have not been granted permanent residency or Australian citizenship then your child will not be an Australian citizen.  Generally at birth the child obtains the status of the mother at birth, but keep in mind you must provide these details to the department so the child can be granted a visa in the immigration system. If the child departs the country on any passport that is not Australian and the child has not had their birth reported to the department, the child will experience problems leaving the country and will not have visa to return to Australia.  This is not a situation you want to find yourself in so be diligent in keeping the department informed of any children born onshore.