You’ve breached a visa condition – so what?

So your temporary visa comes with conditions. For example – you must not work more than 40 hours in any fortnight. What’s the deal – how important is it to obey the conditions that you have been given? And what are the chances of being caught? What are the consequences if you are caught?

Don't break the law!
Don’t break the law!

Well it’s a bit like speeding in your car. You might do it quite often, and it’s never alright, but it’s only once in a while that you get caught. And then – the consequences might depend on a number of things – how lenient is the police officer; was there any harm caused through your speeding; by how much were you exceeding the speed limit?

The same can be said of immigration breaches. Breaches of visa conditions are taken very seriously by the DIBP Compliance section, when they are made aware of what has happened.

Often, immigration breaches are detected when there is an anonymous “dob-in” through the immigration phone number. For example, a jealous co-worker might know that you have limited work rights, but you’re working more hours – so might feel it’s a good thing to report you. Or, your workplace might be randomly visited by the Compliance Section, because they have detected irregularities with your tax return information.

What happens next is that you would be interviewed by a DIBP officer. The officer might also commission records held by the employer, and discuss the breach with them. Following an interview, you might receive, in the mail, a nasty letter called a “Notice of Intent to Consider Cancellation”. You’re offered the opportunity to explain why you breached your condition; and put forward reasons why the visa should not be cancelled.

If your visa is cancelled while you are onshore, there can be some serious consequences. Firstly, you immediately become “unlawful” and have to present to DIBP for a Bridging Visa E. That can affect your eligibility for citizenship, if you later become a permanent resident. If you’ve applied for any other visa, your Bridging Visa A will be cancelled as well. If you leave the country, you might have difficulty obtaining a further visa, as there could be a re-entry ban imposed upon you.

In short, it’s far better to comply with all conditions from the start. Cancellation is not something that you would look forward to. Far better to enter and leave the country on your own terms. Don’t risk it.  Life in Australia is too good to leave behind!

Leanne Stevens

CEO, Emergico // Registered Migration Agent (#1171279)