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Summertime Madness Brought to You by the Department!

Do you ever feel when you are dealing with the Department of Immigration that, like Alice in Wonderland, you have “stepped through the looking glass” and into a world where the normal laws of physics and reality have been suspended?

Or that you have ventured into a bureaucratic labyrinth that reflects the dark scenarios portrayed in the works of Kafka or Orwell? Or the “Brave New World” of “Trump”, where fiction has become fact, fact has become fiction, and the dividing line between the two has become blurred beyond all recognition?

Or that dealing with the Department is sometimes an exercise in “Catch-22”?

Well here’s some reassurance: if you do feel that way, “You are not alone”!

And here’s a story that illustrates the point:

Migration Alliance has received a report from a migration agent who has been registered since 2007. He advises that he made an inquiry with the Department through the Agent’s Gateway for clarification of a policy issue.

The response that the RMA received to this inquiry through the Agent’s Gateway was to the effect that the issue that was the subject of the inquiry was “obvious”, and further, that a practising RMA is supposed to have knowledge of the contents of PAM3. This despite the fact that PAM3 does not contain any material or discussion of the issue that was the subject of the RMA’s inquiry.

Moreover, the Departmental officer who responded to the RMA’s question through the Gateway did not identify him or herself in the reply that was sent to the RMA.

The RMA then attempted to complain about the Department’s failure to respond to his request for clarification of the Department’s policy through the Department’s Global Feedback Unit.

The Global Feedback Unit responded to the RMA’s complaint with a formulaic, boilerplate email that simply said:

“If you have a question regarding visa, citizenship, travel or trade, including bringing goods in and out of Australia please see the information on our Website….The department hopes this information is helpful to you”.  

That response could have been generated by a robot or an automaton, couldn’t it?

We’ve all heard about self-driving cars, but no one has told us yet that parts of the Department are apparently operating on “auto-pilot”!

But it gets even crazier and sillier than this, if that can be imagined!

Upon being informed of this series of unusual events by the RMA, Migration Alliance emailed the Global Feedback Unit to ask about the status of the Agent’s Gateway, specifically, whether the Gateway is still being staffed, and what response times might be anticipated to inquiries through the Gateway.

And the response from the Global Feedback Unit to this inquiry?

Here it is, verbatim:

“This is not something the Global Feedback Unit can respond too” (apparently the spell check function on the Global Feedback Unit’s email program is on holiday in Bali or Noosa!)

One wonders if the Global Feedback Unit is so completely asleep at the switch that it can’t even find out if the Agent’s Gateway is still functioning or not.

Or whether the appropriate acronym for the Global Feedback Unit should be SNAFU rather than GFU!!!

Are we surprised?

After all, this is the same Department whose response to Australia’s international human rights obligations is to introduce asylum seekers to the horrors of indefinite detention on Manus Island and Nauru!!!

Really, you couldn’t make this up if you tried!

Similar experiences anyone? 

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Comments

  • Guest
    Jaleh Johannessen Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    As professionals in this industry it is our individual and collective obligation to raise these and every single crazy performances that the Department is busy displaying recently to the attention of our elected representatives from all political visions. I email the Minister's office on each of these occasions just so that they know how they are performing in our view.

    Mocking and making ridicule the outrageous conduct, unprofessional and incompetent decision making, reasoning, and literacy of the Minister's Delegates aside, this is our Department, our country, our government, who has legal obligation and moral duty to account for all this unacceptable incompetence, unprofessional, and bullying conduct.
    We thought Phillip was bad?!! or Julia and her appointees were incompetent?!!

  • Guest
    Maryann Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    I'm not an apologist for the Immigration department but the last time I sent an enquiry via the agent gateway I received a very detailed response from the director of the policy section was quite detailed. Further the last time I sent through a complaint which was last month, the department dealt with it within 2 weeks and the visa was granted. So fortunately I have not experienced this horror nor do I want to.

  • Guest
    Sydney agent Monday, 30 January 2017

    try dealing with staff at the MARA . I have NEVER experienced a more incompetent group of public servants .They fail to return calls , give wrong advice ( then deny it ) are very evasive on providing specific information when required . Such a group of unemployable s would never survive in the Tax Office or Centrelink .

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Guest Wednesday, 01 March 2017

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