Don’t get me wrong . I love weddings and I am sure I am not alone . It would be very hard to match the sheer lavishness of Indian weddings and the mere thought of attending a wedding back home could give anyone an adrenalin overdose. We all have a brother or a cousin whose wedding has been awaited for ages and we would trade our arms and legs to attend the event ( not literally though …).
It was just last month ( 10/01/2107 to be precise ) that Gurwinder ( Garry ) and his younger brother Gagandeep ( Gaggy) visited our office . Now, Garry is a very good client of ours and has been referring us business for the last 2 years . He very well fitted the category of a FRIENT ( more of a friend than a client ). Garry now was a permanent resident and was ready to settle down and I was very well aware that his parents were looking for a suitable match for him .
Garry advised me that his wedding has been arranged , handed me a box of sweets and an invitation to attend. I congratulated Garry and started the usual wedding talk . After a few minutes Garry brought to my attention that he wanted to discuss his younger brother , Gaggy’s case with me . I was a bit disappointed sensing that the purpose of the meet was not to invite me but to seek advise ( I am very used to this by now ). With my very usual artificial smile I said ” Not an issue ….How can I help ?”.
As it came out, Gaggy was initially here on a Student TU 573 visa ( not anymore since all of them have been merged to SC 500) with a condition 8516 attached to it . Gaggy soon realised that pursuing an MBA was not the “love of his life” as mentioned by him in his Statement of purpose when he initially applied for his student visa from India. Gaggy hopped a few courses and course providers and therefore breached condition 8516. He was now enrolled in Diploma of Automotive and was hopeful of finding a sponsor to lodge his RSMS .
Sounded like a plan …right ? With Garry’s wedding just a few weeks from then, the question was whether it was safe for Gaggy to travel . I was very upfront in advising that he should not travel as he is already risking a visa cancellation. The discussion went on and on where I cautioned them on the risks and both the brothers used every emotional weaponry they could to hear a “Yes “from me . The discussion didn’t end well and there was a stage where I feared for my box of sweets .
Flash forward a few days and I got a call from Garry advising that they were willing to take the risk and were catching a flight the next day . I wished them luck and congratulated Garry once again . The call was very short and ended well.
Flash forward another few days and I got call from Garry again . He was in utter shock . It was easy for me to presume that Gaggy would have received a notification from the Department requesting him to comment on why his visa should not be cancelled ? To make matters worse , the email was received just a day before the wedding . End of story .
I wish this was not a real case but unfortunately it is and Gaggy is not alone. There have been multiple student visa cancellations recently especially where the students are overseas or ” outside the migration zone ” in Department’s language. The Department wants to make sure that the NOICC is handed to you when you are overseas to devoid you of any review rights at the tribunal . The make sure that it becomes an open and shut case where the visa holder has no chances of returning back to Australia .
The question I want to ask is …..was it worth it ? My answer is definitely “No.” and I am sure most of us would agree.
Cancellations ( onshore ) are the worst thing to happen as they leave the student with no work or travel rights . If you are offshore , you can’t apply for a merits review . Also, you can’t lodge any application onshore and won’t be able to come back if you lodged an application offshore .
Any travels offshore by people breaching the visa conditions is automatically flagged and a notification gets sent at the earliest.
I am sure you would be thinking how to avoid the situation . So, here is our advise to students with an 8516 condition attached.
- Try not to hop courses or course providers.
- Seek a release letter from your initial course provider if you do not wish to proceed with them.
- Try avoid travelling overseas if you believe you have breached the condition . Nothing worse than having a visa cancelled offshore with no review rights .
- Aim for applying for permanent visas. The Department can still ask you questions about breaching 8516 but this could still be argued with the Department .
I am sure you don’t want to be a mere statistic in the visa cancellation report presented by the Department every year. Stay safe . Weddings can wait but the Department won’t wait to cancel your visa until you come back.
Also, wish me luck with Gaggy’s case . Will keep you posted