My client’s visa has been cancelled. Where can they get help?

If your client’s visa is cancelled they should to get legal advice quickly. The time limits to appeal a decision to cancel a visa are very strict.

For example — if a person’s Bridging Visa is cancelled and they are detained, they only have 2 working days to appeal. If their visa is cancelled under the character grounds, they only have 9 calendar days to appeal.

For legal advice

Legal Aid NSW

Community Legal Centres

Law Society of NSW

My client wants to sponsor their relatives to come to Australia. What do they need to do?

There are a number of ways a person can bring their family members to Australia to live:

  • they can sponsor a family member under the family stream migration program
  • they can add a family member to their own visa application when they apply to live in Australia
  • the family member can apply to come to Australia as a refugee under the humanitarian program
  • their family member can apply for an Australian visa.

For legal advice

Legal Aid NSW has appointments for immigration advice about family and humanitarian visas at the locations listed below. Bookings are essential.

  • Auburn Diversity Services
    8737 5500

  • Bankstown Legal Aid NSW
    9707 4555

  • Blacktown SydWest Multicultural Services
    9621 6633

  • Fairfield Legal Aid NSW
    9727 3777

  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
    8778 1200

  • Central Sydney
    9219 5790

My client wants to travel back to their home country. What should they know?

To find out if you can travel back to your home country you should:

When you are granted permanent residency you have a right to travel to and from Australia — this is called a travel facility.

The travel facility is only valid for 5 years.
Your permanent visa allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely, but you can only travel overseas in the 5 years from the date you got your visa. If you want to continue travelling to and from Australia after 5 years, you must either get:

If you applied for and got a visa because you claimed that you were in danger in your home country, try not to travel to that country.

If you travel to a country where you said you were in danger, the Department of Home Affairs may say that you were lying in your original application.

Your Australian visa (and your family members’visas) could be cancelled. If you have to travel, don’t use the passport of your home country. Apply for a Convention Travel Document from the passport office.

What rights do asylum seekers on bridging visas have?

Bridging visas allow asylum seekers to live in the community. Bridging visas can have conditions and restrictions attached to them. For example if you are an asylum seeker you must:

  • give the Department of Home Affairs your address and tell them if it changes
  • report to the Department on a regular basis.
Asylum seekers who are living in the community on bridging visas do not have a right to:

  • family reunion
  • re‑enter Australia if they travel overseas
  • social security payments through Centrelink
  • public housing.
You may have permission to work.

What can delay my client’s application for citizenship?

You can do these things to try to avoid delays:

  • Make sure your application was complete
  • Did you provide all the documents that were required?
  • Did you complete the identity declaration?
If not – you should send any additional documents and ask for the processing of the application to resume. You should only supply genuine identity documents and keep a copy.

  • Ask the Department for a copy of your citizenship file.
    • - Complete Form 424A. [PDF 201kb]. This is called a Freedom of Information request. Ask for: ‘A full copy of my citizenship application file, plus any other information relating to the processing of my citizenship application — including internal department records and any electronic or other requests to external agencies
  • Ask about how your application is progressing. You can do this by writing to the Department. You can say: ‘My application for citizenship has now been with the Department for a very long time. I am still waiting for a decision about whether I can become a citizen or not.’
    I would be grateful if you could let me know:
    - If my case has been allocated to a case officer?
    - If my application is being actively processed, and if so, what is happening?
    - what issues are outstanding?
    - I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Use the Department of Home Affairs online compliments‑complaints‑suggestions form. If the application has taken longer than the service standard (80 days) — ask what is causing the delay. Note down the complaint reference number.

  • Complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman if you have been waiting more than 12 months. It investigates complaints from people who believe they have been treated unfairly or unreasonably by an Australian Government department. It can’t overturn the decisions, but they try to resolve disputes.  A complaint must have been made to the Department first.

  • Talk to your local Federal Member of Parliament (MP). Make an appointment for a meeting with the MP or staff member. The MP can contact the Department to ask about the case.

What can my client do if their details with the Department of Home Affairs are wrong?

If you give the Department the incorrect or fake information, the Department may:

  • cancel a visa
  • start a criminal case against you for deceiving or misleading an immigration officer.
If someone enters Australia using a different identity (a different name or date of birth), even if the mistake was an innocent one, it can have serious consequences if it is discovered later. Your visa can be cancelled and you can be detained and removed from Australia.

To find out what information the Department has, you will need to get a copy of your file by filling out a Form 424A [PDF 201kb]. This is called a Freedom of Information request.
You should ask for ‘A full copy of my [insert your visa type that you came to Australia on] application file, including all identity documents I supplied in support of this application’.

You should not correct any important identity details such as your name or date of birth until you get legal advice.

For legal advice

How should my client tell the Department of Home Affairs they have moved?

After you apply for a visa, if you move to an address you will live at for more than 14 days you must tell the Department of Home Affairs.

If you moved and didn’t tell the Department, you should do it as soon as possible. If you don’t tell the Department about your new address, you could miss getting an important decision about your case.

If you tell another government department (like Centrelink) your new address, it doesn’t mean the Department of Home Affairs will know.

You can:

  • Give the Department a Form 929 [PDF 173kb] by:
    • emailing it to 929@homeaffairs.gov.au or
    • sending it by registered post to
      Department of Home Affairs,
      GPO Box 9984 Sydney 2001.
      Keep a copy.
  • Update your details online if your application is in ImmiAccount.
Site content is current as at November 2018

​For more information

Overview of family stream migration factsheet

Department of Home Affairs - Bringing your family or partners

Department of Home Affairs - Relative visa options

Department of Home Affairs - bridging visas

Department of Home Affairs - information about citizenship

Department of Home Affairs - information documents

Department of Home Affairs - standards

How to apply for Australian Citizenship

Guide for community workers

Download the PDF version of the Community Workers Guide [PDF 871kb]

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