The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is the legislated authority in Australia which has the power to grant or refuse entry to non-citizens.
It follows then that the Department will not advise people about their eligibility to apply for a visa. This is because there is a clear conflict of interest between the two powers – the power to grant or refuse entry; and the power to provide migration advice.
If you contact the Department of Immigration, the staff can certainly point you to a website with information; or point you to the relevant forms in the office; but they can’t and won’t advise you whether you are able to lodge an application with a chance of success. It’s up to you to decide what you think is right for you.
Clearly, if they gave you “advice”, there would be a problem if they had to refuse you – and you had followed their advice! Or at the very least you would be asking some serious questions!
It’s a similar situation with the Australian Taxation Office, which has the legislated authority to determine who has to pay how much tax. You would never dream of ringing the ATO and asking whether you can claim something on your tax return. They would simply tell you to discuss your situation with a Registered Tax Agent – a “middle man”, an independent trained professional who can advise you what is best for you in your situation, and puts your case forward to the ATO. Sounds like exactly what a Registered Migration Agent does for you in terms of a visa, doesn’t it…?