The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is closing its office in Southport on the Gold Coast because it is not used enough. The satellite office will close on 30 June and it has announced arrangements.
'The decision to close the DIAC Southport office was made after careful examination of the range and level of services provided on the Gold Coast, the demographics of the client base and the reduced need for over the counter service,' said a spokesman.
'The majority of people who were visiting this office were international students, backpackers and tourists. The overall numbers were very low when compared to other counter offices and the services they received were largely available without having to make a visit in person, either over the phone or via our website,' he explained.
'The need for over the counter services continues to decrease due to initiatives such as oral lodgement of certain low risk applications, expanding sites for citizenship testing through future service delivery partner arrangements and extension and enhancement of our online services. These services include eVisa and Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) which reduces the need to issue visa labels,' the departmental spokesman added.
The department met with, and wrote to, key stakeholders including community groups, industry associations and local members of parliament to discuss how it would meet client needs into the future.
'Since March last year, we have worked extensively with relevant stakeholders to ensure all necessary services are accessible through alternative means for those who have traditionally used the office,' the spokesman said.
'Announcement of the decision was made well ahead of time to ensure we carefully managed client and staff issues through this transition,' he added. All staff have been offered alternative placements within DIAC.