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Making a complaint about a DIAC Case Officer

Ethical Officers | Empowered Agents | Engaged Public
Confirmed_cases_of_breaches_of_the_APS_Code_of_Conduct_in_the_Department_of_Immigration_and_Citizenship_(DIAC)2011_2012 Confirmed cases of breaches of the APS Code of Conduct in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) 2011 to 2012

Migration Alliance receives inquiries from the public regarding how to complain about DIAC. Migration Alliance is not a DIAC complaints handling service, however details have been provided on this page to assist members of the public should they wish to complain about DIAC. If you are not satisfied with the service provided by your DIAC case officer, you can complain in the following ways:

DIAC Global Feedback Unit (Complaints): Client Feedback and Standards Section Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and Manager of the Global Feedback Unit, Ian Cheung This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commonwealth Ombudsman (online complaints form):
Complete this form and send it to fax + 61 (0) 2 6276 0123 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Human Rights Commission (Complaints):
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
TTY: 1800 620 241 (toll free)
Fax: 02 9284 9611

Complaints about DIAC case officers about any breaches of the Public Service Code of Conduct or DIAC Client Service Charter such as providing misleading advice, not providing current contact details, not providing a statement of services, not declaring a conflict of interest, not putting requests in writing, improper notification, rude telephone manners, unreasonable service delays, not advising if no-longer dealing with a file, deliberately bypassing appointed representative (eg your migration agent), failure to properly identify themselves (first and last name and position number), failure to provide their daytime contact details, lack of sound knowledge of the legislation, lies, not acting with dignity and courtesy, not able to communicate effectively, failing to properly respond, failure to adequately supervise staff, deceit, and not acting in a timely manner.

If you are unhappy with a service the department provides or funds, then make a free complaint. Your compliments and complaints provide the department with information to help improve their quality of their services.

The compliments and complaints policy at DIAC ensures the department processes all compliments, complaints and suggestions in a consistent way and address them appropriately.


As part of the department’s commitment to service improvement, it has established a centralised system for recording, tracking and resolving client feedback.

Claiming Compensation from DIAC (Dept of Immigration and Citizenship)


If you think the department has made a mistake that has caused you a financial loss or some other detriment, you may be able to make a claim for compensation from the department.

Types of compensation

There are three bases upon which monetary compensation can be obtained for loss suffered as a result of:

  • legal liability
  • defective administration
  • special circumstance arising out of Commonwealth administration (Act of Grace).

Compensation for legal liability

The department may assess your claim and pay compensation in accordance with the Attorney General's Legal Services Directions, where there is a risk that the department could be found to be liable to pay compensation if the matter went to court.
Negligence, actions in contract, personal injury and property damage.

Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA)

The CDDA Scheme allows the department to compensate you if you have been adversely affected by the department's defective administration and where no legal liability exists. Payments made under the CDDA scheme are discretionary and may be made where it is considered that there is a moral obligation, rather than a legal liability.

Compensation is not payable for grief, anxiety, hurt, humiliation, embarrassment, or disappointment that is unrelated to personal injury, no matter how intense the emotion may be.

In order for your claim to be successful under the CDDA scheme, the decision maker must be satisfied that:

  • there was defective administration by the department
  • the loss or detriment you suffered was a direct result of the department's defective administration
  • the type of detriment suffered by you must have been reasonably foreseeable by the department.

Defective administration is defined as:

  • a specific and unreasonable lapse in complying with existing administrative procedures
  • an unreasonable failure to institute appropriate administrative procedures
  • an unreasonable failure to give to (or for) an applicant, the proper advice that was within the official's power and knowledge to give (or reasonably capable of being obtained by the official to give)
  • giving advice to (or for) an applicant that was, in all the circumstances, incorrect or ambiguous.

The overarching principle of the CDDA scheme is to restore you to the position you would have been in had the defective administration not occurred.

Act of Grace payment

The Act of Grace Scheme is administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance). If the Finance Minister or delegate considers it appropriate to do so because of special circumstances, he or she may authorise making an Act of Grace payment. Act of Grace claims are considered on their individual merits. Act of Grace payments are discretionary and may be made where there is a moral, rather than legal liability and there is no other redress available; including where:

  • the direct role of an agent/agency of the department has caused an unintended and inequitable result for the individual or entity concerned
  • the application of the department's legislation has produced a result that is unintended, anomalous, inequitable or otherwise unacceptable in a particular case (including in cases where the department has acted correctly in administrating the legislation involved)
  • the matter is not covered by legislation or specific policy, but the department intends to introduce such legislation or policy, and it is considered desirable in a particular case to apply the benefits of the relevant provisions prospectively.

Compensation from DIAC:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: 02 6264 1401

Complain to Australian Human Rights Commission

What can I complain about?

The Australian Human Rights Commission can investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person’s:

  • sex, including pregnancy, marital status, breastfeeding, family responsibilities and sexual harassment
  • disability, including temporary and permanent disabilities; physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric disabilities, diseases or illnesses; medical conditions; work related injuries; past, present and future disabilities; and association with a person with a disability
  • race, including colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, immigrant status and racial hatred
  • age, covering young people and older people
  • sexual preference, criminal record, trade union activity, political opinion, religion or social origin (in employment only)

It is against the law to be discriminated against in many areas of public life, including employment, education, the provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, sport and the administration of Commonwealth laws and services.

The Commission can also investigate and resolve complaints about alleged breaches of human rights against the Commonwealth and its agencies.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: 02 9284 9611
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