#International Affairs
Australian authorities and voluntary associations

As you may be aware, in January 2009, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, announced a range of changes in response to the global economic crisis to ensure the Skilled Migration program is better targeted and more responsive to industry needs.

In short, these changes retrospectively affected many potential immigrants pushing them to the end of the processing queue, despite the fact that a huge number of applicants have already been under review for up to two years. Lives, hopes and expectations of many people were ruined in one day, and the heaviest impact was on applicants from “high-risk” countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine who expected soon grant of long-awaited visas. However, DIAC tried to calm down unhappy applicants by informing us that new changes are not for long and our applications will soon be finalized as it was expected.

The full drama was revealed in September 2009 when another set of retrospective priority changes was introduced (which is protested against here - http://www.gopetition.com/online/31230.html) and it was announced that non-priority applications will not be finalized until the end of 2012!

We are potential migrants, who have met the criteria for which we have applied in 2007-2008, who were pushed to the end of the processing queue after already waiting for up to two long years; we seek for your support through signing this petition!

We are reluctantly writing to you to draw your attention to possible negligence by the Department of Immigration in Adelaide (ASPC) with regards to applicants who lodged their applications in 2007-2008, well before new immigration changes were introduced by the Minister of Immigration in January 2009.

Our contention is not with the newly enacted measures as they merely reflect the current changing times resulting from the international financial crisis, but rather with the desperate straits that many potential immigrants found themselves in after these changes affected their applications post factum. Such approach caused social and financial problems in many families with the heaviest impact on applicants from “high-risk” countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine whose applications had already been under review by DIAC for up to two years.

As 2007-2008 applicants we took seriously our application process, rigorously assessing the criteria to ensure that our skills, age and English language proficiency were consistent with Australian requirements and then, and only then, did we realize that our applications could potentially be successful. This welcome realization dramatically changed our lives and circumstance necessitating amendments to plans for our future in our native country in order to maximize migration possibilities to Australia and to positively affirm this new trajectory. This sacrifice included for many of us jeopardizing our careers, income and conveniences, even accepting the onerous commitment not to have children, all in the expectation that a visa will be possibly granted within 24 months.

We expended our meager resources, obtained references and passed English proficiency examinations in genuine anticipation of sustained objective analysis of our applications, mindful of the limited validity of attained documentation and references. This was compounded by many of us living in remote areas requiring onerous effort to travel to big cities for necessary examinations, tests and medical examinations. We have always believed that the Department of Immigration would in due course consider outstanding applications on their merits. We also assumed that any change in policy, new laws or regulations would affect only those applying AFTER any amendment and not assessed anachronistically. Needless to say, that the dramatic turnaround in the processing priority introduced in January 2009 gave way to despair for many applicants, who were affected retrospectively.

We are somewhat disillusioned to contemplate the possibility that there may have been a lack of empathy by being advised by the officials of the Department to enter into a pointless exercise, passing tests, obtaining documentation, paying all application fees only to be subject to anticipate the expiration of documentation after many months of expectation. Many of us would not be able to pursue this onerous path again as we have to make decision to affirm alternative for lost opportunities since commencing the process in 2007-2008.

However, it could be assumed that there should not be an excessive number of applicants, who applied in 2007-2008 in good faith at onerous cost and, for unexamined reasons, are still left in an unprocessed queue. Our files apparently have been put on hold in the light of the new changes, even though many applications are ready to be successfully finalized since all necessary documents have already been provided and all checks were conducted. We believe that it would be a fair comment to suggest that the process has yet to finalize our applications basing on the principles and processing priority of the period when applications were lodged.

Is it possible to examine whether probity and fair play, the Australian way, has been consistently applied for this ever dwindling number of applicants concerned, who feel that having met the criteria for which they have applied, they can offer much benefit through utilizing of their acknowledged skills in Australia helping to combat the effects of the economic downturn.

We ask you to look into this enquiry to ascertain whether justice and humane approach in the Department of Immigration in Adelaide have been upheld and we ask whether in your official capacity you can advise the Department to finalize the files of 2007-2008 applicants before their documents have lapse.

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The Immigration processing priority changes of January 2009 are UNFAIR! petition to Australian authorities and voluntary associations was written by Anonymous and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.