Visa holders need to ensure their compliance with the conditions on their visa. However, the motivation to do so for many visa holders is effected by the Department’s seeming lack of monitoring. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has undertaken an audit of the effectiveness of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s management of compliance with visa conditions. The ANAO assessed whether DIBP:
effectively manages risk and intelligence related to visa holders’ non-compliance with their visa conditions;
promotes voluntary compliance through targeted campaigns and services that are appropriate and accessible to the community;
conducts onshore compliance activities that are effective and appropriately targeted; and
has effective administrative arrangements to support visa holders’ compliance with their visa conditions.
In light of the number of visas being granted (over 7.5 million in 2014-15) it is an enormous challenge for the Department to keep track of compliance by visa holders, not just with the duration of their visa but also with other conditions such as work and study rights. Unfortunately the audit concluded that there are “weaknesses in almost all aspects of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s arrangements for managing visa holders’ compliance with their visa conditions…” The Department agreed with all the recommendations by the ANAO. However, as noted by the ANAO “the challenges facing the department should not be underestimated given the extent of the reforms and the longstanding nature of the problems”. We will have to wait and see how the implementation of the recommendations will affect visa holders.