UK-born mother-and-daughter Pat Leggett and Pauline Tuft, had been looking forward to Pat’s relocation to join her daughter in Adelaide since the decision was made back in February this year.
What neither of them expected was for their visa category to suddenly close whilst in the middle of preparing their application.
“It was all a bit of a panic,” Pauline Tuft, Pat’s daughter and sponsor, said of the phone call she received on Friday 30 May from her migration agent, Vanessa de Pretis.
“I was just on my way out to lunch when I got a call at around 1pm from Vanessa telling me that the visa category would no longer be available and that an application would need to be lodged in the following four hours. Vanessa required a number of documents signed by Pat, myself and my husband, who works in Victoria, so that she could prepare and lodge the application before it was too late.”
“Luckily I had already printed off some of the documents they required us to sign – especially as one was 27 pages long.”
The drama followed the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s abrupt repeal of a number of family-based visa categories, which were closed less than 12-hours after making the announcement.
Whilst the closures had been foreshadowed in the Federal Budget earlier that month, the absence of a specific date had led to the assumption that the closures would take place after the end of the financial year, as was typical for most immigration policy changes.
Fortunately for Pat and Pauline, Migration Solutions’ strict vigilance of policy change and experience in such situations meant that they were able to gather the necessary documents and lodge to the Perth-based Processing Centre within the few short hours available to them.
“Because of the deadline and the processing centre being located interstate, we actually had to fax the application to the family member of one our staff who lived in Perth in order to submit on time,” said Managing Director Mark Glazbrook.
“It was a rare situation, but fortunately for Pat and Pauline we were able to submit the application despite the challenging circumstances.”
The incident was another example of the unpredictable nature of the Australian immigration process, and the ability for the Immigration Department to change longstanding policies at will.
“I had previously worked for Ethnic Affairs and was aware of the work migration agents do to assist new arrivals with their visas,” Ms Tuft said.
“Mum was quite happy to use Migration Solutions, as we knew the process can be quite confusing. In hindsight, we were fortunate we did decide to use a migration agent, as we would not have known about the closure of this visa until it was too late,”
“If that had happened, Mum would have been forced to return to the UK immediately, or else risk being deported at 89 years of age.”