There are people at both ends of visa applications, the applicants themselves as well as case officers who assess applications and that leaves scope for human error. However it is highly disappointing when the errors due to sheer lack of knowledge cause mental, emotional or financial cost to the applicant and their family. This story is second in our two part series on case-officer errors that have been a reason for a lot of anguish for the applicants.
Jalna was told by a DIBP compliance officer in Sydney to stop working, take her kids out of school and pack up to leave Australia within the week.
However the compliance officer was completely wrong.
Jalna is qualified professional who came to Australia in June 2009 to pursue a Master's degree in Education. She decided to stay on in Australia and apply for her Permanent Residency (PR) due to the lifestyle, education facilities for her children and the feeling of community present here.
After obtaining advice from a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) Jaya needed lodge her 190 PR visa application offshore (traveling on a BVB) for it to be valid. Her RMA prepared her application and lodged it while she was overseas with her family and she had been told she was entitled to a Bridging Visa once her application was made and she returned to Australia.
Jalna went to the Department of Immigration upon her return to be granted her new bridging visa and was told in no uncertain terms that she wasn't entitled to one!
Unfortunately for Jalna the case-officer was absolutely adamant that she wasn't eligible for a Bridging Visa to stay in Australia while her PR application was being processed and was told that she needed to immediately stop working and leave Australia along with her family within the week. She was asked to present herself again to the case officer with a plane ticket in hand.
Jalna says "I was highly distressed at the information as this was totally opposite of my RMA's advise that I would have a bridging visa to stay in Australia". The plane ticket alone would have cost Jalna's family thousands of dollars.
Jalna was unable to comprehend the legal jargon and explained what her RMA had told her but the case officer wasn't interested. She could not understand how a case-officer was being this steadfast in denying her something that her RMA was telling her she should be approved for.
This advise caused Jalna and her family tremendous torment; she had to tell her employers that she would be unable to continue working, her kids school was interrupted and she was told by the case-officer she just had enough time to pack and leave.
Eventually Jalna left it to her RMA to sort this mess out and went through a tense period while she and her family waited to know the outcome, she says "the waiting period stressed us out, we had to let our family back home know we were coming back"
She states of her experience with the Department of Immigration "I believe it is not the Immigration Department itself but the case officers who are employed by the immigration who have no knowledge about the procedures and how a wrong decision would affect the whole family including children. Who is accountable in this case?"
Her advice to people in similar situations is "go to a reputed migration agent to get things sorted out. I always thought that case-officers in the immigration department are highly skilled and could never make a wrong decision, I was proved absolutely wrong."
Eventually Jalna's case was sorted; she and her family were granted a bridging visas with permission to work and the case-officer apologized for the mistake but one is left to wonder how do people entrusted with a job that affects so many lives are capable to such grossly unacceptable errors?
If Jalna had chosen to believe her case-officer she would have had to quit her job, her children would have had to quit school half-way through an academic year and they would have had to move overseas to wait for their PR visa to be granted. Fortunately she had faith in her migration agent and now continues to work and live in Australia.