Report: NSW Onshore Partner Application Processing Time Est: 15 months

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Report: NSW Onshore Partner Application Processing Time Est: 15 months


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Old 01-29-2013, 01:43 PM
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Report: NSW Onshore Partner Application Processing Time Est: 15 months

Hi All -

I read some very depressing news tonight from another agent who recently spoke to DIAC's temporary partner processing section in Sydney and is reporting that the current estimated wait time for partner visa processing (onshore, NSW) is "over 15 months." Additionally, decision-ready (DR) processing for partner visas in NSW has all but been abandoned as so many applications are now coming in as "decision-ready" that DIAC apparently thinks it would not be "equitable" to give all of them priority processing as it would unfairly disadvantage all the non-DR applications. So all partner applications are being processed in NSW in one queue now, not a separate queue for DR and non-DR.

Given reports of processing times less than this, I think there is still hope for those who lodge DR applications and have a bit of luck. But if this report is accurate, it represents a major delay in processing these applications, and as far as I'm concerned, it's simply not fair, just or "equitable" to force married or defacto couples to wait this long simply to have their visa processed.

I really have to wonder what DIAC's priorities are at this point. Assuming this report is true, they are willing to live with a steep decrease in processing standards, while at the same time increasing the application fee significantly. Where is the accountability? Where is the fairness to visa applicants and their families? And where is the responsible management at DIAC being accountable for such a shocking slippage in delivery standards?

It occurs to me that a collective body of visa applicants and those who care about the rights of visa applicants may be in order. It's simply too easy to deliver poor service when for most people it's a one-shot deal and they have no continuing involvement with the government after the visa is granted. I would be happy to be involved with such an organisation, but for it to have credibility it should be led by those directly affected by the issue.

Any thoughts? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news tonight, but we all in one way or another have a stake in timely visa processing, and I just see things these days getting worse, and let's not even talk about the haphazard and inconsistent offshore partner visa processing that is discussed at length here. Ideally the interests of both onshore and offshore applicants could be addressed by such an organisation, similar to the way that Bus Rider's Unions have lobbied municipalities, etc in the USA to battle fare increases and poor service.

Best,

Mark Northam

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:53 PM
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Mark,

Thank you very much for posting this. I have often suggested the same thing that you are - we need some some kind of organised body that fights for the right of potential migrants and visa applicants. There is no transparency or accountability in the process the way it is, and yes, it is ridiculously unfair that fees are increased while service standards drop. Something needs to be done by us, their clients.

This is too much power for one government department to wield. And they appear to be invincible - applicants fear to make complaints because they're afraid it would affect their applications, while at the same time, the department answers to nobody. Once a visa is declined, there appears to be no recourse except to pay for an appeal and to sit back and wait even more months to be heard. What happens when case officers make mistakes, misunderstandings or downright lie in refusing applications? There are plenty of examples to be found on this forum.

I think the first step is to develop a campaign of information. This issue can affect any Australian these days, what with increased mobility and globalisation, and yet most Australians don't know a thing about what they're up against until they're caught facing the system, and then they have nowhere to go. If we, first of all, let other people know about how things actually are, I'm willing to bet there'd be a whole lot more outrage in support of us.

This thread would be a great place to discuss what we can do together to fight this unfair system. What would be the first steps to organising a representative body and giving it legal status?

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:57 PM
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Thanks, Mark. The info you posted is exactly what my CO told me in September: no decision ready applications, all the applications are treated the same and processing times are extended because of higher workload.

http://www.australiaforum.com/visas-...html#post65385

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Application Date: 19 June 2012
Police Checks: Submitted with Application
Medicals: Completed 03 July 2012.
VISA GRANTED: 20 January 2014 (19 months)
TO AUSTRALIA:04.04.2014.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:06 PM
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Yeah thanks Mark, this explains much of what we are seeing on the ground so to speak.

Kttykat




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Old 01-29-2013, 08:50 PM
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Thank you for sharing the news, your opinion and the suggestion, Mark.

*steps on soapbox* (deepest apologies for the essay I just realized this turned into)

I have to say first of all I find it hard to speak out about this. I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it's because I've worked in customer service at a bank and no matter how hard I worked, the system was so flawed that I sometimes could not provide the service needed and I was still the one in the chain who got to then deal with the angry customers - maybe that's made me more aware that I don't want to hurt the feelings of Case Officers who do try. Or maybe because somewhere deep inside me hides a little bit of paranoia - I'm sure people from DIAC have come across this forum, and I'm fairly sure there's not that many Dutch Nelly's applying in Melbourne that were born in '87, and I don't want them to think I am ungrateful as I have only turned in my application a few days ago and they might actually be trying for me and then off I go online about how they are too slow... I don't know. I do realize this issue's obviously bigger than me and my case.

Over the past two years I have caught my partner saying several times: I am an Australian citizen with a spotless history and not even half a trace of ever being involved with anything suspicious, why can't I just have my girlfriend here without having to beg, beg and beg some more. I in turn have caught myself wondering - I've been nothing but an absolute stand-up citizen in my own country, if they took a few days to verify all my Form 80 information they would get confirmed I am spotless, why am I being made to feel like I am a criminal trying to clear herself... but such is the process.

That said, there is a core of truth in both those sentiments - Australian citizens are entitled to care from their government, and that includes not causing unnecessary months or years of emotional stress just to hear the verdict on a partner visa that can practically be seen as a trial period for the actual partner visa with permanent residency. But I could be wrong.

Temporary Onshore is not a life or death decision, and I have always wondered why so incredibly much weight is put and invested into allowing the Temporary phase if it will be completely reevaluated anyway two years later before Permanent Residence is even considered. I read somewhere the denial percentage is much higher on the 801 than on the 820 because many couples do end up splitting up after two years - and after giving a couple two years together in Australia, shouldn't it be so much more evident how serious and real they are? People who apply for the Temporary often haven't even had a chance to build up the amount of evidence expected, how can you have much proof of a physical joint life together if you do not have a partner visa... why don't they put more into processing 801 and less into PMV and 802 so at least couples can be together and build a fair life together before it gets assessed? The system is flawed in my opinion, but I am not an expert and I deeply sympathize with all the case-officers who do work hard to do this right because I know how they feel... they have peoples' lives in their hands and they must take it seriously and they must want to approve everyone they have a good feeling about as soon as possible.

But the waiting times I agree are out of hand. I'd be happy to join some kind of organization of group for that and at the same time this paranoid little voice in my hand says... why do you want to bite the hand that might eventually (after 15+ months) feed you... stupid I know. That's the problem with partner visas. They are emotional and applicants cannot always be expected to be reasonable and wait x amount time because of this and that, because it is a highly personal visa and last time I checked to love was such a basic human right it doesn't even need to be put in a law.

That is part of the problem, too. DIAC can just stretch and not adapt to increasing workload. What are the people with pending applications going to do? Risk making a bad impression by protesting when they are essentially being evaluated largely on character? I think not.

At the end of the day I can honestly say - I wouldn't mind waiting months, years to be allowed to be with my partner, as long as I feel we get a fair chance to prove how genuine we are. And with the current system, I don't feel that is entirely the case. I think they do it as fairly as possible, with as much information they can process, but that doesn't mean it's truly fair. I will wait 10 years for an approval, but I will not wait 15 months for a rejection because the only way a genuine couple can get rejected is if they haven't been given a proper chance to prove themselves. For instance never having been able to save up to build that ideal life together before because we were always flying back and forth. For instance because paperwork is paperwork but anyone can share finances - if you're going to make me wait over a year, would you mind visiting my home to see with your own eyes? But that's not how it works. Times increase but effectiveness stays the same and that is what's unfair in my opinion. They do not change the system to allow people to prove themselves more elaborately, and they do not change the system to give people more of a chance to actually genuinely produce that ideal evidence (I am sure in two years my partner and I will have our own house, for instance), but they are comfortable changing the waiting time and that's not fair. If they were meanwhile openly working on improving chances for genuine couples, yes. But I have not seen a single announcement of that (but maybe it's like the form changes... wooossshh) - in fact the only announcement I have seen from Immigration since my partner and I started planning to apply for this visa, was that we were going to have to cough up an additional $1000. Something just isn't right somewhere. But then again, it's an emotional visa, for us anyway, and I am not sure how eloquent I'll ever be about it because it's got all our joint hopes and dreams (which are not evidence even though they're joint ) weighed onto it.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'll be happy to be corrected if I am. I am not trying to attack DIAC or anyone working there. But there is always room for improvement in large organizations, I know because I've seen it from the inside, and I hope if not for our sake then for the sake of those others waiting forever to just be with their partner, that at some point DIAC will realize if you increase what you ask of people, you may also increase what you yourself give in some way.

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From: The Netherlands
Visa Sub: 820 Partner Temp Onshore (De Facto)
Applied: 23 January 2013 (front loaded)
Application: Paper
Agent: No

Case Officer Assigned: 23 December 2013
Request for More Information: 19 May 2014
Requested Information: Australian Federal Police Check
Supplied on: 26 May 2014
Visa Granted: 4 June 2014


Permanent Stage Application: 22 January 2015
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

Last edited by Nelly87; 01-29-2013 at 09:03 PM. Reason: I can't spell.

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Old 01-29-2013, 09:20 PM
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Wow, just read back - really sorry about that! Shouldn't rant so much, now my head hurts and I need a long shower to figure out what I just thought

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From: The Netherlands
Visa Sub: 820 Partner Temp Onshore (De Facto)
Applied: 23 January 2013 (front loaded)
Application: Paper
Agent: No

Case Officer Assigned: 23 December 2013
Request for More Information: 19 May 2014
Requested Information: Australian Federal Police Check
Supplied on: 26 May 2014
Visa Granted: 4 June 2014


Permanent Stage Application: 22 January 2015
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:25 PM
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Thanks Nelly, I really liked what you wrote. I would like to add that this visa waiting is not just emotional, it is existential problem as well. I finished my work contracts but couldn't accept new ones because our plan is to migrate permanently. I can't promise my customers to finish my job in May or June if I plan to move whenever visa is granted. So as people could be in limbo emotionally they could be in business limbo, too.

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Visa: Subclass 100, Permanent Partner Visa
Visa Nationality: Croatia
Applied: Offshore, through Vienna office
Application Date: 19 June 2012
Police Checks: Submitted with Application
Medicals: Completed 03 July 2012.
VISA GRANTED: 20 January 2014 (19 months)
TO AUSTRALIA:04.04.2014.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:37 PM
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That is another very good point... life stagnates. Even onshore, lucky as we are to be together, we stagnate. What if we sign a lease - I have the income right now of the two of us, and we get rejected? My unemployed partner, sponsor, will be stuck with the lease. Even if he wasn't unemployed - if we were both working we would want to start looking at buying a house... not gonna buy a house if I can't stay.

It all looks like "it's just a house" but when you've already been waiting to finally properly start your life together for 2 years, it gets a bit much.

__________________
From: The Netherlands
Visa Sub: 820 Partner Temp Onshore (De Facto)
Applied: 23 January 2013 (front loaded)
Application: Paper
Agent: No

Case Officer Assigned: 23 December 2013
Request for More Information: 19 May 2014
Requested Information: Australian Federal Police Check
Supplied on: 26 May 2014
Visa Granted: 4 June 2014


Permanent Stage Application: 22 January 2015
PERMANENT PARTNER (801) GRANTED ON 18 MAY 2015 - WE DID IT!

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:07 PM
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Surely this wouldnt effect offshore aplications, i,e people going through Berlin for example. Or would it? Oh my heart goes out to all of you still waiting, what a sickner this news is.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:27 PM
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Wow. I must say I am a bit shocked about what Mark said. 15 months is the average waiting time now, that means that a lot of people with not-so-clear cases are easily in for a 24 months wait! Just like that!
I don't know why DIAC is obviously struggling so much to keep ahead of their workload. Is it pure lazyness? Are they hoping that people will be deterred by the price increase and the long waiting times, a very smooth way to cut the number of migrants? Or is there simply no funding for additional staff, and the way they deal with applications is outdated and made for a time where there were a lot less applicants?

I think a good way to start out with some kind of "protest" would be to increase the public awareness. I know so many people here that are somehow connected to people on partner visas (friends, colleagues, family members etc.) and every time I talk to them about the whole process they are very surprised. They immediately side with me saying that they can't believe what applicants and their partners are going through, but they have never heard of it before or were even concerned with it (and why would they, really).

Making people aware of that people they meet every day, people like them, their neighbours and colleagues, are affected by this system and that even they themselves could one day be affected in this multicultural world could move a lot, I think.
They would see how a government department tries his best to hide how it is working, not telling people anything, raising fees unexpectedly and without a proper reason and on the other hand failing to come up with anything remotely related to 'customer service'.

My hope is that the public will start to think about it and speak out. Just think about the recent 'Occupy' protests, and a lot of the people participating weren't even personally affected, it was an outcry against the general injustice.
An open letter to the government might also be a good idea. If someone can find a way to publish it in a newspaper, even better. Now that I think about it, if anyone is working/knows someone who is working at a newspaper, it might be worth publishing an article about it, or a letter to the editor.

These are just my two cents.

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