Lodgement and processing arrangements for Partner (Temporary) (subclass 820) visa applications
- In short the DIAC now want all applicants to send their applications by post or courier and
- They have condensed the number of centres processing applications to four (4)
- NSW processing NSW applications at Lee St in Sydney
- Victoria processing Victoria in Lonsdale St in Melbourne
- Queensland processing Queensland, ACT & Tasmania in Adelaide St Brisbane
- WA processing WA, SA & NT in Wellington St Perth.
The Factsheet issued by DIAC on this change in the FAQs section gives as a reason for this latest change under the heading –
Why have lodgement and processing arrangements been changed?
“The department is undergoing a wide-ranging transformation program to position itself as the best immigration and citizenship organisation in the world. Reducing the number of locations at which we process these applications allows us to achieve greater consistency, efficiency and service excellence.”
So I guess the logic goes this way people in ACT, Tasmania, SA & NT are now unable to stroll into a DIAC office and lodge their application therefore we must make it equally difficult for everyone, hence lodge by post or courier.
DIAC seem to specialise in changing where applications are processed using an almost stream of consciousness approach. It happens so often that one could perhaps use it as a topic for a doctoral thesis and I’m certain this all change happens at significant direct cost to the taxpayer but I suppose it is good that they aim to be ‘the best immigration and citizenship organisation in the world’.
My problem is twofold…
- A year ago I could make an appointment at DIAC’s Partner section on Level 2 at Lee St, Sydney and arrive with my decision ready application and the happy couple and have the 820 visa in the applicant’s passport in 30 minutes. Efficient, even impressive… ‘People Our Business’. Then they closed this system using resources and efficiency as the reason. Next came – arrive with the application and sit down with an officer who receipted it and got back to me usually very quickly. Then came – give me the application over the counter and we’ll get back to you which finally led to a new service standard of 9 months to process an 820 application (on average) – some faster obviously others slower. Now the counter is closed and all direct communication has ceased to be replaced by post or courier. I’m missing the improvement in this progression to becoming the best immigration organization in the world. Is it just me who can’t see how an applicant is better off?
- Second, and this may be a minor point, but it is a reality – often couples lodge applications with very little time to spare before a current visa expires – sometimes even on the last day before they become illegal. How is this new system dealing with this problem? People shouldn’t be so silly I know but the reality is they often get into difficulties and last minute applications happen. Can we now rely on the notion that as long as it’s dated stamped as received by DIAC before the visa expires that a BVA will be issued? What’s the policy here? No FAQ answer on the Factsheet. Does this now mean that you cannot take your visa expiry as the last day to lodge an application – how long should we add backwards to allow for Australia Post – a day, a week, longer?
Oh yes one other point of interest.
I had a Migration Agent friend who was turned away by the Sydney DIAC counter the other day and told he’d have to go down the road to the Post Office to send the application in to DIAC Sydney before they’d accept it. Then I read this in the Factsheet…
Can I lodge my application in person?
We prefer that you lodge your application by mail or courier directly to the relevant Partner (Temporary) Processing Centre. You may also lodge it in person at any office of the department if you prefer. Applications lodged in person will be transferred to the relevant Partner (Temporary) Processing Centre.
Now that’s confusing! I’m taking a copy of the Factsheet with me next time I walk up the hill to lodge an 820 application at Sydney. I guess that also means that applicants in ACT, Tasmania, SA & NT (and even in NSW and Victoria) can in fact lodge an application over the counter or does it?