The Australian Visa Dilemma

Getting the Australian visit visa accepted deserves a standing ovation as it is now so difficult, the paperwork so intense that it takes atleast a couple of months to gather all the information and documents required for the Visa Application Process. 

My husband and I decided it was high time for our company to exhibit at some trade fair and we chose an exhibition in Australia to be our first. God knows why we did that though.

After applying to the exhibition through the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, our application got accepted. We were overjoyed as business had been slow and this was our chance to market our products and services to the Australian market, one of our customer segments.

However, in the weeks preceding the acceptance,  we were preparing more for the visa paperwork and thinking less about things we needed for the trade fair. Such is the intensity of the documents they require. It took us exactly two months to collect invitation letters, recommendation letters, bank documents, business documents, property papers, marriage certificate…what not. There wasn’t any part of our life that was documented and wasn’t required for the visa.

However, we finally applied for a business visa through the Australian Visa Application Centre in Karachi on 17th August 2016. We also applied for our daughter’s tourist visa as we thought it would be wonderful to have a little holiday coupled with business. And because we have friends and family there…we thought she’d enjoy. Plus, leaving her behind with someone for three weeks, I really wasn’t up to it.

So a week later, while my husband was travelling to Spain, they tried contacting him for an interview but his phone was unreachable. They emailed him then and so I called them back. They took an almost half hour interview asking me all sorts of relevant and irrelevant questions. However, by the end of it, I was satisfied and positive that there were no problems and we’d be granted a visa.

3 weeks later we got the refusal letters. All three of us. We were shocked and disappointed. Below is the letter that I received:
15 September 2016

Mrs__________ 

Karachi 

Sindh 

75500 

PAKISTAN

In reply please quote:

Name 

Date of Birth 

Application ID 

File Number 

Payment Receipt Number

Dear Mrs 

Notification of the refusal of a VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR (Subclass 600 ) visa.

This letter refers to your application for a VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR (Subclass 600) visa, which was lodged at Islamabad on 18 August 2016.

I wish to advise that the application for this visa has been refused for the following applicant(s):

S_______

After careful consideration of all the information you have provided, I was not satisfied that you met the relevant criteria for the grant of this visa as set out in Australian migration law.

The attached Decision Record provides more detailed information about this decision and the applicant(s) it applies to.

Review Rights

There is no right of merits review for this decision.

Visa Application Charge

The visa application charge which has already been paid was for the processing of the application and it must be paid regardless of the application outcome. There are only limited circumstances in which refunds can be given.

Questions About this Decision

No further assessment of this visa application can be taken at this office. However, if you have questions about this decision, or the process or information that was taken into account, you can contact this office.

Yours sincerely

M.________

Position Number:

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Australian High Commission

Islamabad Pakistan

DECISION RECORD

Primary Applicant

Name

Date of Birth

Application ID

Citizenship Pakistan

Passport Number

Other Applicants

No Other Applicants Recorded

Details of Application

Application ID

Visa Class VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR (Subclass 600)

Visa Type Temporary

Application Lodgement Date 18 August 2016

File Number

Payment Receipt Number

Information Considered

I am a delegated decision maker under Section 65 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act). In reaching my decision, I have considered the following:

 relevant legislation contained in the Act and Migration Regulations 1994 (the Regulations) collectively “migration law”;

 information contained in the department’s Procedures Advice Manual 3;

 documents and information provided by the applicant(s); and

 other relevant information held on departmental files.

Reasons for Decision

Under migration law, an application is made for a class of visa and your application must be considered against the criteria for all subclasses within that visa class.

Your application has been considered against the criteria for the following subclasses within VISITOR visa class.

600 – VISITOR

Under migration law, a visa cannot be granted unless the applicant meets the legal requirements specified in the Act and the Regulations. The prescribed criteria for the grant of a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa are set out in Part 600 of Schedule 2 to the 

Regulations. 

Clause 600.211 requires:

The applicant genuinely intends to stay temporarily in Australia for the purpose for which the visa is granted, having regarded to:

(a) Whether the applicant has complied substantially with the conditions to which the last substantive visa, or any subsequent bridging visa, held by the applicant was subject; and – 4 –

(b) Whether the applicant intends to comply with the conditions to which the Subclass 600 visa would be subject; and 

(c) Any other relevant matter.

Genuine visit

The objective of the Australian Government’s visitor visa policy is to issue visas with a minimum of inconvenience and delay to persons who intend a genuine short visit to Australia. Experience has shown that some people do not intend a genuine visit, but seek to use visitor entry to Australia to avoid migration selection requirements, to work or study without authority, or to remain in Australia beyond the period of time allowed. 

 The question of genuineness is not an objective matter but requires a judgment to be made. In reaching a finding on the question, decision-makers take into consideration a range of factors affecting the applicant. In assessing your application, consideration was given to the socioeconomic factors in your home country, your personal circumstances and immigration history. 

In coming to my decision I gave weight to your personal and economic circumstances; your international travel and immigration history; the economic and environmental factors in your country of usual residence and how these may induce you not to return, as well as factors in Australia and how they may act as an incentive for you not to depart Australia if granted a visa.

You have stated in your application that you are seeking to travel to Australia to participate in International Sourcing Expo (ISEA) which will be held in Melbourne. In order to assess your intensions to visit Australia I must consider your personal and financial circumstances in your home country.

The majority of your family will travel with you and you have no other immediate family would remain in Pakistan. Given the absence of information about any personal family ties to Pakistan, I am not satisfied that you have incentive to return to Pakistan.

I have considered that you have previously had international travel and appear to have complied with the visa condition. However I note that you have not had similar 
business travel in the past. Therefore I must assess this application on its own merits taking into consideration your current circumstances and the circumstances in your home country.

You have stated that you are the proprietor of the business ________________for the last 11 years. You have provided two business bank statements from Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd showing a negative closing balance on 14 July 2016 of PKR _____________ and insufficient funds on 17 June 2016 of PKR ____________. Further you have not provided your personal bank statement in support of your application. Based on the information before me I am not satisfied that you have adequate means to pay for the travel, or access to adequate means to support yourself during the period of intended stay in Australia.

Considering these matters collectively, on the information available to me at the time of decision, I am not satisfied that your personal and economic circumstances in your home country would provide you with an incentive to return and your expressed intention only to stay temporarily in Australia is genuine.

Therefore, I am not satisfied that you meet the requirements of clause 600.211 and your application is refused.

Decision

As you do not meet one or more clauses in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, I find that you do not meet the criteria for the grant of a VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR (Subclass 600) visa. 

Therefore, I refuse your application for a VISITOR (Class FA) VISITOR (Subclass 600) visa lodged at Islamabad.

___________

Position Number:

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Australian High Commission

Islamabad Pakistan

15 September 2016 4:05 PM

Here is my answer to their email refusal:

Dear Mr. _________

We just received your letter of our visa refusal against our application ID _________ and to be very honest with you, I am very disappointed by your decision. Not because of the refusal of the visa but because the grounds on which it was refused is purely racial and purely discriminatory.

Because of the clause in this visa refusal letter that I cannot ask for a reconsideration of the visa but I felt very strongly to communicate my point of view to you. I do hope that sitting in the visa office, you will take out the time to read this through to the end.

1. There is no rights of merits review for this decision: Do you treat people in your country the same way where their right to question you is taken away from them? I don’t believe so. It is but the natural right of all citizens of the world to question your decision and ask for a review. I held Australians at a high esteem and never thought decisions based purely on demographics would affect us. However, since I saw the kind of derogatory remarks in the refusal letter, I am now not so sure.

2. The purpose of our visit: What is the genuine purpose to visit Australia, you tell me. We have, for the past 18 months worked extremely hard and saved every single penny to be able to participate in a trade show and I am now not sure why we chose Australia as our launch destination. Maybe because we saw great opportunity to increase our customer base there. But, having provided you with all the relevant information, including audit reports and our asset details, I fail to understand what made you think ours wasn’t a genuine reason to travel. Were we faking the event participation? Were we faking all the recommendation letters that we collected over the period of 60 days not good enough for you?

3. International Travel: In the past few years, I have travelled extensively to many parts of the world including the EU and there has not been one instance where I or any of my family had not complied with the visa conditions or we had been the subject of any sort of criminal or illegal activity EVER in ANY COUNTRY. Why do you think we would choose Australia to launch any illegal activities.

4. Personal family in Pakistan: If by personal family you mean spouse and children, then yes, we were supposed to all go together only because my husband and I work together and we have a daughter whom we couldn’t leave behind for 3 weeks as all of my other family works all day and I didn’t want to put any extra burden on them. I do have my parents and siblings all of who reside in Pakistan. Plus we have many family and friends residing in Australia and we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to go and explore the down under, coupled with our trade fair.

5. Mine and my country’s circumstance: Not everyone is like what you deem them to be. I am very disappointed and shocked at the mention of such a thing in the visa refusal letter. Whatever the circumstances here, I don’t think you have any right to point out and disgrace this country Pakistan in writing in an official letter. Also, please note that __________________ has been running for the past 13 years. We have seen many ups and downs in the business and we have just started to settle down. Why and who in the world would want to leave 13 years of their immense hardwork for running somewhere where we’d be considered illegal and would always have to run/hide from authorities and start living in constant fear? We are very settled here and there is no place on Earth we’d rather be at this point in time or ever.

And

to bring our company to a level where we could think of participating in a trade fair in foreign land is no easy task. Why would we give this all up and ‘slip’ away.

6. We have a many friends and family in Australia, references of whom were provided to you already. Had you taken out the time to call them, all of them would have given their personal guarantees for us… so much so that they would agree to be held accountable in case we didn’t return before our visa expired.

7. Means to pay for the travel: I work with my husband, ________. We have three companies. A, B and C. Had you paid attention to detail, you would have seen that the money from C was moved to B only because B had provided the said amount as a loan to C for a particular project and same was returned at the culmination of the said project.

Also, since all these three companies are one in the same thing, there is no question of how I’d pay for my travel expense. All this was already related to Mr. __________ on our telephone conversation dated 22-8-2016. Also, there was no mention of the provision of a personal bank statement, especially when we were asked to provide extra documents.

I don’t know what to say to you other than the fact that I now have serious doubts about the procedure you work with. I am also utterly disappointed about the fact that you couldn’t ask for extra details from us before making your decision which I believe is based on purely irrelevant and illogical reasons.

Not only have we lost all the money that we paid for the visa application but also the stall charges that we paid to ISEA. Were you running a business of your own, you would know what a huge disappointment your single decision has caused.

Regards,

P.S. All names and other personal details have been altered to protect our personal privacy.

What to think anymore… I now know not.

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