Very often when the applicants lodge their visa application they face unforeseeable problems in a process. The first unpleasant surprises are: the long processing time, unexplained delays in processing or requests of unnecessary documents. The fact that contacting the decision maker (the case officer) is very difficult nowadays only adds to the frustration especially in situations when the applicants need an expedited or urgent decision.
Decision-makers are working under great pressure. Despite the COVID pandemic, caseload is still huge. Case officers have less time to access each application. Number of new staff increased, which means that there are a lot of unexperienced case officers. In addition, the Department of Immigration adopted the new method of processing applications – an assembly line processing – where there is no one case officer attached to a single application. There are many officers who work with the application on each stage of the process. Therefore, there is less flexibility in the assessment of the application.
If the applicant for a visa has a problem which must be solved, the applicnat needs to contact the Department urgently. It may require a combination of different approaches to get a resolution.
The first point of contact with the Department is the Global Service Centre. There are onshore and offshore processing area depending on the office the application was lodged. The GSC could be contacted from Monday to Friday 9am to 5 pm local time. The waiting time could be really long sometimes. Usually GSC provides the applicants with the general information but in some cases they could provide the applicant with the direct email of the team working directly with your application.
When calling to the Department the applicant should have all details of the lodged application (as the visa type, Transaction Reference Number, Case number, the date of lodgement etc). People who make the call should be ready to prove their identity.
The Global Service Centre phone in Australia: 131 881
GSC phone off-shore is +61 2 6196 0196
Usually the Department sent the correspondence from “no-reply” mailboxes. However, sometimes applicants could find the direct email address of the relevant Department’s team in the received correspondence.
To make effective the communications with the Department the applicants should:
- Include to their letters full clients’ references (mane, dob> passport number, TRN etc).
- Email should have a cleat heading (please note that some teams have specific requirements which could be found in acknowledgement letter usually issued straight after the lodgement of the application.
- If applicants request is urgent, compassionate or compelling – it should also be indicated in subject line for faster processing. Structure of the applicant’s letter is very important and should ensure the clarity of the message:
- What specific actions the applicant asks for
- Background of matter and key information
- Better to highlight the most important parts of the email as the officers are reading the emails very quickly.
Another form of communication to the Department the applicant’s problem is to contact the Department through the on-line form: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/complaints-compliments-and-suggestions
Usual time for response is around 15 days. If the applicant didn’t receive any response during the indicated time the request could be repeated.
For more questions about Australian visas and Immigration matters please contact a Registered Migration Agent Yana Asmalovskaya.