31 July 2019
Security checks on visa applications
In 2018, there were 42.1 million movements across Australia’s international border. This refers to the number of people entering and exiting Australia, by air or by sea; all are subject to security checks at one level or another.
Under Australia’s migration laws, people seeking an Australian visa must be screened on character, health and security grounds. There are different government agencies involved but ASIO is responsible for the security-checking component. ASIO provides thousands of security assessments each year to support Department of Home Affairs in its decisions as to whether to issue visas to people seeking to enter Australia.
Ajuria Lawyers sometimes encounters visa processing delays because, in the words of the Department, ‘external agency checks are being undertaken’; these generally refer to security checks. The Department of Home Affairs has no control over how quickly these can be cleared. It can take weeks or months and sometimes even years.
Not every visa application is subject to ‘external agency checks’ and there is little public information available on who is referred for further assessment. We understand this is generally based on security information that may be available at a Government to Government level, but also on the country of nationality or the countries where the individual may have lived or spent significant time (generally over 12 months in the past 10 years). Where cases are referred for security clearances, there is little or nothing the Department of Home Affairs, or us as lawyers, can do to expedite a decision.
DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 31 July 2019 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.