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Australian migration agents take on DIAC

Australian migration agents take on DIAC

All migration agents in Australia will be interested to hear that one of our own has attempted to "take on" the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

On June 28, Piotr Ferenc submitted a complaint to the DIAC.

He stated that on June 15, the DIAC introduced changes that affected Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visas for chefs, hairdressers and other tradespersons that was "contrary to legislation and ANZSCO classification".

Mr Ferenc also said that the DIAC had not notified migration agents or the general public about these changes, which he and his colleagues deemed "illegal".

Apparently the Migration Institute of Australia had already raised this issue with the DIAC, and was still waiting for a reply.

The crux of the matter was that the DIAC website was allegedly advising chefs and other tradespersons that in order to apply for a RSMS visa, they would need to hold a qualification at Certificate III level and two years of work experience OR a qualification at Certificate IV level.

The new policy, Mr Ferenc said, requires applicants to be holding either Certificate III or IV level qualifications and to also have two years of work experience.

Apparently this much experience in combination with a Certificate III level qualification is prescribed by ANZSCO, so is fine; but two years experience being required of Certificate IV level qualification holders exceeds legislative requirements.

A number of Mr Ferenc's clients had been affected by this error.

He ended his complaint by saying that the DIAC's new policy was illegal because it required visa applicants to possess more experience than regulations dictate, unfair because it provided "false and misleading information", and "discriminatory on the grounds of occupation performed by applicant".

The responses Mr Ferenc received from the DIAC were, he believes, contradictory.

One said that ANZSCO does not actually state that relevant on-the-job training or post-qualification work experience is a requirement for those holding a Certificate IV or Diploma.

The other stated that in certain cases, those applying for RSMS visas and in possession of a Certificate IV or Diploma must demonstrate that on-the-job training had been completed too.

Liana Allan, convenor at Migration Alliance, has also sent a complaint to the DIAC regarding case officers not providing their names when answering correspondence.

Mr Ferenc had been told that case officers do not sign correspondence to protect their identities.

Ms Allan says this goes against the Public Service Charter and that officers must properly identify themselves.

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