I am in Australia and I do not have a Visa!

We often assist individuals who are living in the community without a visa. The Department of Home Affairs refer to such people as an unlawful non-citizen. We recently acted for a client (‘James’) who was held in migration detention as an unlawful non-citizen, pending his removal from Australia by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department). Previous to being remanded in migration detention, the Department had refused to grant James a new visa. James decided to appeal this decision by lodging an application for review with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The AAT is an independent body with the power to review migration decisions (as well as other decisions made by government agencies). The AAT agreed with the Department’s decision not to grant James a visa, and wrote to James to notify him that his visa would expire 28 days after receiving the AAT notification.

Unfortunately for James, he chose not to deal with the legal implications of that AAT decision, by way of either departing Australia or identify another visa pathway to remain lawfully in the country. James’ visa eventually expired, and he became an unlawful non-citizen. Under section 189 of the Migration Act 1958, an immigration officer has the power to detain a person where ‘an officer knows or reasonably suspects’ that person ‘is an unlawful non-citizen’. Once the Department became aware that James’ visa had expired, it proceeded to detain him. James’ detention came without warning and, before he knew it, he found himself in immigration detention.

Within a few days of his imminent removal (deportation) from Australia, James contacted us for assistance. While he had missed the statutory period (time limit) allowing him to regularise his status (e.g. by applying for a further visa), we quickly prepared, lodged and obtained a bridging visa for James to secure his release from detention. In addition, we also provided James with advice in relation to other potential visa options to reside in Australia.

While James is now in the community, his bridging visa contains several oppressive conditions such as no work or study rights and monthly reporting. If James had obtained our help before his visa expired, or immediately after the AAT’s decision, we would have assisted him to apply for a visa with more favorable conditions such as full work rights and the ability to travel overseas.

If you are living in the community without a visa, we strongly encourage you to contact us so that we can assess your case and advise you on potential migration pathways available to you. It is important to note that migration lawyers, unlike migration agents, can claim legal privilege (confidentiality) over certain details such as your current address. This ensures that we do not put you at risk of being placed in immigration detention while we identify a suitable visa solution for you.

We have successfully assisted hundreds of applicants to obtain residency in Australia. If you would like to regularise your status, please contact us via email on info@cifuenteslaw.com.au or call 0477 269 867 or email to arrange a confidential consultation.

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