My girlfriend is English and is attempting to become an Australia Resident
January 22, 2009 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Immigrating into Australia: My girlfriend is English and is attempting to become an Australia Resident. Everything seemd to be going so well until this morning.

My girlfriend is English and is applying to become an Australian Resident. Everything seemed to be going so well until this morning.

She is applying for a Permanent Migration Visa as a skilled migrant and is doing so via an Immigration Law "Specialist". From what we have been told by the lawyer, she needs the following for a successful application;

- Health checks
- Criminal checks conducted by both the UK and Australian police
- A permanent Australian job offer with a title on the approved list for skilled migrants, (in this case Project Manager/Administrator)
- Proof that she has worked as a Project Manager/Administrator for 3 years

We've done the health check, the police checks and she has a permanent job in Australia with the appropriate title and role. She has been working as a Project Manager for 3 years (1yr in Australia and 2+yrs in UK) and we have received all of the written references from her employers in Australia stating this. Her employer in London has been very slow in replying and are notoriously difficult to work with.

Yesterday, she handed over all their references to her Lawyer and explained she'd get the London reference in as soon as it arrived. Her Lawyer looked at the references and told her that they also need to include some other specific information which he forgot to mention to her before.

We put the frustration aside and went to work last night advising all her referees that she was terribly sorry but she's been advised that their reference must now include this extra information and could they see their way to getting another one back to her. We also sent this to her London employer who had yet to send the first one.

This was very frustrating and upsetting to do however, we were confident that it would all come back quickly as they were all very happy to supply the reference before. Also her London employer had not sent theirs back yet so at least they wouldn't have to do it again.

Then this morning, we received an email from her old work in the UK who said they had already sent her their reference, didn't we receive it? They then went onto say how much of an effort it was to put together (we actually wrote the reference for them, they just had to sign it) and that they were under immense pressure and stress from all sides and had very little time to do anything. As I said before, this employer is quite difficult and she also suffered quite a lot of bullying from management while she worked there.

Basically, we are very worried that they may not send it at all or even if they do send the reference, it may not be a true indication of what she did there. The prospect of them purposely hindering her visa application via this reference is also a possibility.

My question is, could the Dept. of Immigration, reject her Visa application simply because she either does not have the reference from her UK employer or because they have supplied an incorrect reference? Can the life of such a wonderful person hinge on the whim of a nasty employer with a history of workplace bullying?

Surely not? There must be some other way to prove she worked there in that role for 2 years.

In addition to this, should her application fail, what appeal options do we have and how would the failure of an appeal affect future Visa applications? We understand that we could become engaged to get her in but neither of us want to get married because it was the last resort and also you need to get married within 9 months.

Any help in this desperate hour would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Man_in_staysis to Law & Government (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is only *my* opinion, but what I would do is this:

Option A
1. Since you wrote the first reference, and they only signed it...write the second one as well.
2. Staple it to the first.
3. Send it in.

Option B
1. Ignore the "specialist".
2. Send in the stuff with or without his help.
3. If immigration has a question regarding the reference they would ask you to clarify it, or ask the person who wrote the reference. Because this is for a skilled position, they would put in a bit more effort to qualify this person and not reject the candidate.

Does that make sense.

Your immigration "specialist" seems like a in incompetent dude that charges major money, and then relies on people's fear and ignorance to keep him in business.

TONS of people take advantage of immigrants/emmigrants in this capacity. You should ask this specialist what his/her success rate is. My guess is he's going to say "100%" and not qualify it...or will go on about "well i don't really work with percentages".

Good luck...
posted by hal_c_on at 3:55 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

don't listen to this guy, he inyl.. I'd recommend getting a second opinion from another well-recommended lawyer.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:22 PM on January 22, 2009

Our issue is timing now. Since this lawyer neglected to tells us about the references until yesterday and also held us up with a number of other things, we have to lodge next week or she has to leave the country before the end of Feb.
posted by Man_in_staysis at 4:31 PM on January 22, 2009

If your migration agent hasn't given you the information you're asking for, the Department of Immigration may be able to tell you. Give them a call.
Your law specialist is a Registered Migration Agent, right? Because if not, you should see one who is.

My question is, could the Dept. of Immigration, reject her Visa application simply because she either does not have the reference from her UK employer or because they have supplied an incorrect reference? Can the life of such a wonderful person hinge on the whim of a nasty employer with a history of workplace bullying?

As I understand it (and I am not your registered migration agent) the answers are yes, yes, and yes, they can if they want to, or not, if they don't. You can appeal visa decisions to the Migration Review Tribunal, but at that point you want the services of a solicitor, not just a migration agent.
Finally, and I'm assuming you're a citizen yourself, the office of your Federal MP is probably a good place to find advice or good contacts about immigration.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:40 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Along with the recommendation of getting a good and registered migration agent (or, if this is one, getting a better one), I'd recommend you write a small letter to include in the paperwork, speaking of the workplace bullying and how you have not been able to get a reference out of that employer. Staple to that anything that will provide evidence that she worked there, things like pay stubs or bank statements with highlighted payments she received from that company, etc. She may also be able to get some coworkers to vouch for her, saying that she worked there for two years, and that could be valuable.

This is anecdotal, general life advice, so I'm not sure it can be particularly used when it comes to prying open the clam that is Australia's immigration policy. However, time and again when I have been unable to produce the proper evidence for things in important forms, it has always been just fine to provide other evidence, especially if I had a lot of it. I think if your girlfriend were to do what I said above, there would be little doubt that she had worked there and been paid consistently for it. Also, as tight-assed as Australian immigration is, the people looking at these forms will not be unfamiliar with mean bosses. Explaining her situation, and providing as much side-evidence as she can, should suffice, I would think.

Good luck. I know it's very stressful to go through this. I am just here on a student visa (what should have been an easy experience), but some of my paperwork was screwed up early on (not my fault, btw), and I ended up having to deal with a lot of extra things. It's not easy. At least you guys have each other for the process! :) You need it!
posted by metalheart at 6:44 PM on January 22, 2009

One other thing: don't let your girlfriend overstay. I should really put it like this: DEAR LORD DON'T LET YOUR GIRLFRIEND OVERSTAY. Only bad things happen when visa overstayers interact with the Immigration.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:20 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just lodge as much as you can by the due date. Include notes and anything you think might be remotely relevant as supporting information where applicable as to why some documents aren't included in the application.

There is an appeal process if the application fails, but please don't freak out too much about that scenario.
I know how utterly stressful this situation can be, having experienced it as the Australian half of a couple applying for a spouse VISA. Getting all the evidence together was torturous, however once the application was lodged all of the staff we dealt with were absolutely wonderful. My partner got his VISA, even thought we thought we kind of scraped through on SEVERAL criteria.
Immigration Officials are human beings, and we found them to be quite willing to listen and accept other supporting evidence as suggested above. They really do look at each case on an individual basis, so it is unlikely she would rejected just because she is missing an item or two as long as the other evidence is strong. My somewhat shonky memory thinks that she will be given a Bridging Visa as soon as she lodges her application and after some weeks, she will attend an interview. If they require more evidence, they will request it.

Best of luck. Oh, and what Fiasco said, overstaying is a VERY BAD IDEA.
posted by goshling at 8:40 PM on January 22, 2009

The local MP riff is probably worth something. As others have stated, do not under any circumstances overstay.
posted by Wolof at 10:58 PM on January 22, 2009

Ditto on not overstaying. If you've ever seen Nothing to Declare, you should know that there's a 3-year exclusion period for breaking the visa rules in such a fashion; it can be waived, but only on compassionate grounds, and even at that your girlfriend would have to file an appeal from the UK anyway.
posted by macdara at 3:40 AM on January 23, 2009

Do NOT OVERSTAY is worth repeating. So is talk to your parliamentarian, they can grease the wheels to an amazing extent. The other thing they can often do is build a bridge between you and the person handling the matter for immigration. Once you can, politely, get on the phone with a real human, things work much better, as you instantly understand their concern is not the work history (for example) but some other documentation issue.
DO NOT OVERSTAY bears repeating. I had a friend with a genuine partner that was deported because he because he overstayed. All clocks were reset to zero and she effectively had her husband in New Zealand for the first 2 years of their marriage.
There is no appeal/remedy for an overstay unless you have Kevin Rudd in your pocket.
posted by bystander at 4:13 AM on January 23, 2009

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