Wednesday the 22nd October 2014
Volume 346

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Sabotage or Incompetence at Business NSW?  
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By Karl Konrad and Tanaya Das

Hope and faith melted into shock, annoyance, exasperation, disbelief and finally despair for many of those applying for NSW State Sponsored Migration today.


 It's been ten months of waiting, watching and growing anger at the NSW state migration office. On Christmas eve last year NSW government released news that they have closed the door on receiving sponsorship applications for the 190 visa.  


At the time Immigration News had raised eye-brows at the poor timing and the degree of insensitivity shown towards the community, unfortunately this was just the beginning of a long torturous road ahead for prospective NSW 190 applicants.


 Business NSW SMP opened for new applications in July 2014 and due to being inundated with applications the system was unable to process them and showed error messages at the payment stage.


 Individuals unable to get their applications through in July waited eagerly for the October intake however in a cruel twist of fate this intake was paused four hours in. NSW SMP website states "Due to high volumes, the application process for state nominated skill migration has temporarily closed. A further update will be posted on Friday 24 October 2014. Thank you for your patience. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused."


This announcement hides the truth of what happened today. 


In speaking to Migration NSW officers today we learnt that within the first hour over 7000 hits were recorded on the application form for SMP sponsorship. Then dozens of complaints over the phone flowed in, detailing forms that wouldn't operate properly such as adding up the points scores, displaying the occupations menu and allowing dates of births to be recorded.


At first the staff at Business NSW could not see any problems at their end but in the next two hours that followed hundreds of complaints were piling up to the four client servicing offices answering the inquiry line. Something was definitely going on. 


The managers decided to pull the plug on the application process in all fairness to those wishing to apply; in order to find out what was causing their application forms to malfunction.


This is what Business NSW doesn't want to tell you. They don't want to admit for the second time this year their IT infrastructure failed to cope with the most basic of application procedures


It seems at the moment no one is sure how many applications were actually made, if Business NSW know, they are not telling. In fact it was predicted by management that with the withdrawal of the General Accountant and most IT occupations, there would be plenty of places to spare for keen applicants on their occupation list.


So who made these high volumes of hits that jammed the system? 


Business NSW suspects a malicious software to be the culprit, perhaps this may also responsible for the application forms to malfunction and fail to lodge.


And a thought to those who spent so much effort to make an application for sponsorship.


IMMIGRATIONews spoke to Daksh and Mohammed from India and Bangladesh who tried their best to ensure they would lodge successful applications today and the crushing disappointment they faced. 


Daksh says "I have been up since 5:30am today, I got a business NBN connection, had three computers with the latest and fastest processors. I was prepared to give this my all but all that happened was I got to the payment page three or four times and then the application stalled. It's awful to know that I have spent the past seven years in Australia, studying and working, paid $52,000 in University fees and paid my taxes religiously but am made to feel this desperate".


Mohammed says "I wanted to ensure I succeeded so I took the day off, had five computers at hand with different internet connections on different networks sitting in front of them since 8:00am. I couldn't access the system in July with the single computer however clearly they have no intentions of letting these applications through. I called NSW SMP multiple times however all they said was refresh the page. Do I look stupid? How can a server get jammed? I feel completely crestfallen and it just feels like a lottery system. It gives hope but has no outcome. This feels like harassment to people who are desperate. I don't understand why we are being treated this way while offshore applicants are invited in. This is just a waste of time."


Daksh says "We are healthy, able and willing to work hard, want to start businesses here, have already contributed to the Australian economy and still are being told our futures depend on an unstable system. Just say no if you don't want to sponsor; no need to dangle the SMP carrot in front of us only to make us feel like it is something that will never be ours. I am tired, as an honest, hard-working tax paying genuine applicant I feel frustrated beyond measure. I know people who paid $50,000 for their 457 visas and then got their ENS and now are citizens and I am still waiting on doing things the right way. This is unjust."


NSW SMP has advised that the October 2014 intake isn't full, it has just been paused and there are still places left and the maximum number of 1000 is far from being met. However Mohammed and Daksh both think that the intake is full and they are just being kept in the dark.


Time will tell whether NSW Business will be transparent in this Friday's announcement regarding what actually happened today. However if that pathetic explanation posted on their web site this afternoon is any guide, don't hold your breath.



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High volumes of incompetence would be a better description to place on the web site of Business NSW.


I mean really, High Volumes of what? 


Of course most people would automatically assume this means applications, but that is far from the truth.


Business NSW needs to demonstrate transparency for something is not smelling right after this second fiasco for the year.


Just how were these people who reportedly did lodge applications actually get through?


Today we had staff in Tokyo as well as Seoul ready and primed to lodge applications for clients. We also had them placed in internet cafe and at homes in Sydney just to see if the location and internet speed made any difference. It did not.


Business NSW also admitted when they tried themselves after the 10 am opening time, they could not log in. Surely that should have warned that something was up.


So thanks guys for wasting four hours of more than half a dozen of our staff around the world today.


If NSW is open for business, they must be joking.


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