Are you having any problems staying without a visa or perhaps your visa will expire soon and you are not sure what options you have?
This time I would like to touch up on potential scenarios and consequences of not complying with visa conditions.
Although not only visa holders but also sponsors (e.g. employers) are being monitored and must follow migration rules I will focus in this article about the former ones.
The most common examples you might breach your visa conditions include:
– overstaying your visa
– having your visa cancelled
– working on a visa having no suitable work permissions
– having poor attendance at school (student visa holders)
– providing non-genuine or forged documents during visa application process
So how can immigration department can detect potential offenders?
It receives the information in the following ways:
– dob-in’s – somebody (often being very close to you) reports you breaching your visa conditions by calling Immigration Department hotline
– your home or workplace is being raided by Immigration officers
– data-matching process – during random check Police, traffic or any other authority might report you to Immigration department. The immigration department can also work out where you live and how long you worked by contacting Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
If you are located by immigration officers you are risking:
– being detained and sent to detention centre to be removed from Australia
– being banned to return to Australia on any visa for a certain time (usually between 1 – 3 years) unless compelling circumstances exist
– being permanently banned to ever return to Australia (usually for serious offences: drugs, violent attacks, crimes against children, etc.)
– criminal penalties for certain offences (providing fake documents and submitting false declarations, working without permission, etc.)
So if you think you are in breach of your visa conditions, please contact us. This is too complex area where you will soon realize that browsing IMMI.gov.au website will not give you enough advice. Moreover you are running out of time which can proved very precious as even illegal status can be resolved depending how quickly you act.
Remember that you need a valid visa even if you are leaving Australia. Not doing so will result in being detained and questioned by immigration officers at the airport.
So how do I fix my visa problems?
There is no simple answer to it as every case is different. Some examples include:
– obtaining a proper visa (quite often Bridging visa E) that will give you some extra time to arrange your paperwork
– preparing an application for review by a merits review tribunal
– arranging for a voluntary departure from Australia and returning on a valid visa.
A few questions that I came across in my practice:
Can I get arrested when I turn up at immigration office and advise about having no valid visa and thus trying to get a valid one?
In theory it is possible, however in practice only people who are located by immigration officers will be detained.
Can a migration agent report me to immigration department for being illegally in Australia?
This is not going to happen if you come to us and try to resolve you visa issues. Please note that according to our Code of Conduct we are obliged to act in the best interest of our clients.
What if I was unable to extend my visa due to an unexpected event (e.g. car accident)?
If a breach of your visa condition was a result of a compassionate reason and event beyond your control we will try to make a submission to the immigration department to have your visa status sorted.
I was removed from Australia/left Australia without a valid visa. How can I re-apply?
Everything depends on the exclusion period (ban) that was imposed and a type of visa you wish to apply for. Please let us know if you need some assistance.