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Lizbeth

VACCU REFERAL

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Hoping anyone might be able to help, my partner has been referred to VACCU which I presume is for an offence he has from over 20 years ago. We had Police certificates which are clear, employers references, and other evidence to show we are returning to the UK. 

We are due to travel on the 12th August 2019 and have been told it could be months before they even look at his case. Does anyone know if it’s possible to expedite a case or has been through a similar situation with a positive outcome ? 

The family member we are visiting has contacted the local MP AND WE’ve emailed VACCU but I just seem to be reading people waiting for a year. 

One person did post in December 2018 that by emailing the local Ozzie MP AND VACCU theirs was sorted within a week. 

Any help or Positive suggestions would be very much appreciated!

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Hi Lizbeth,

have you had any response from VACCU or anyone else? 

Were due to fly 25th August on a 482 and I’m supposed to start work on 16th September. 

my son has been referred to VACCU and I’m really anxious that we won’t hear anything in time. 

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Hi Lizbeth, 

Do you have an update on this topic?

 

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Has anyone had a response from VACCU here? I know there hasn’t been much response on this thread but it’s the most recent one I can find. 


300 Prospective Spouse

Applied 11 March 2019 

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We heard back Oct/Nov Time from VACCU and our visa ended up in a split decision after I’d requested for the same. We’ve Still not heard back regarding the visa and I am unsure how long this will take. 

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Hi everyone, 

We had given up any hope and I was expecting to travel without my partner. However we did get a response from VACCU and we did get to travel as planned. I emailed them every day, I sent family photos , character references and anything else I could think of.  It was very last minute , I think maybe 10 days before we went and an email arrived saying they had looked at the case and saw no reason to refuse the visa it was sent back to the normal visa office in Hobart and approved within 24 hours. 
All I can say is email every day  ( even though they say don’t) & send lots of supporting evidence. With your application. It’s a really stressful time waiting for a response , I wish you luck and hope you get to travel as planned 😊

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59 minutes ago, Lizbeth said:

All I can say is email every day  ( even though they say don’t) & send lots of supporting evidence. With your application. It’s a really stressful time waiting for a response , I wish you luck and hope you get to travel as planned 😊

I'm sure all your supporting evidence made a difference, but have you ever thought what would happen if every applicant sent an email every day?

Immigration officials are already snowed under enough, without thousands of people sending nagging emails again and again.  Please consider that the people who work in Immigration who are doing a difficult job with inadequate staffing, and clogging up their mailbox and phone lines slows things down rather than speeding things up. 

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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6 hours ago, Marisawright said:

I'm sure all your supporting evidence made a difference, but have you ever thought what would happen if every applicant sent an email every day?

Immigration officials are already snowed under enough, without thousands of people sending nagging emails again and again.  Please consider that the people who work in Immigration who are doing a difficult job with inadequate staffing, and clogging up their mailbox and phone lines slows things down rather than speeding things up. 

especially as every one if those emails needs to logged and recorded - thus taking up time which could have been used to work on processing the application! Do people nit realise that repeated nagging doesn't get anything sorted faster!

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3 hours ago, Nemesis said:

especially as every one if those emails needs to logged and recorded - thus taking up time which could have been used to work on processing the application! Do people nit realise that repeated nagging doesn't get anything sorted faster!

Clearly it worked for Lizbeth so your response is incorrect. Unless you have dealt with vaccu on a personal level and can offer advice on processing times?? 
 

This process is stressful enough without personal opinions that are not useful on the subject matter. 

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2 minutes ago, al3x said:

Clearly it worked for Lizbeth so your response is incorrect.

That's not a reasonable conclusion to draw.  If she hadn't sent any emails, she might well have got the decision at exactly the same time. 

 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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55 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

That's not a reasonable conclusion to draw.  If she hadn't sent any emails, she might well have got the decision at exactly the same time. 

 

Or maybe even quicker. Generally in any "case" process a new contact resets the "must contact by" date. So bombarding them actually is usually self defeating.

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Hey everyone chill your jets! I was asked about my personal experience and I gave it. I have no idea if sending emails every day worked or not and you're right, the visa may have arrived in time despite that.

 You may prefer to sit back and watch your fate unfold. I believe in trying everything I can and fighting until I know there’s nothing more I can do.

In reference to me considering the poor immigration persons workload. Well if you want me to put that over and above subjecting my family to utter heartbreak because dad had to stay at home, then a quick email every day seems reasonable. 
To those of you who sought some  genuine advice , all I’ve told you is what happened for us and I keep everything crossed that you the outcome you want because being in limbo is really hard and sometimes the system is wrong. 
 

To those of you who think I’m out of order for pushing, enjoy your trip to Oz in 2029 😊

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59 minutes ago, Lizbeth said:

 

To those of you who think I’m out of order for pushing, enjoy your trip to Oz in 2029 😊

But that's the point, we're thinking of all the people still in the queue, which is progressing more slowly every day because immigration officials are spending 2 or 3 hours of their day, logging and processing unnecessary emails.  

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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Thanks for sharing everyone. We have 2 visas in the pipeline. 
1. PMV lodged March 2019. They requested further info regarding character and said would likely be referred to vaccu once received. We uploaded everything January 16. 
2. 600 visitor visa. Lodged December 1 and referred to VACCU December 20. 
I know it’s going to be a lengthy wait no matter what but hopefully they have something in process where they look at the fact that people may have already been waiting a long time (10 months for PMV) and put a bit more of a priority on these ones. Wishful thinking lol. 


300 Prospective Spouse

Applied 11 March 2019 

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On 19/01/2020 at 22:38, al3x said:

Clearly it worked for Lizbeth so your response is incorrect. Unless you have dealt with vaccu on a personal level and can offer advice on processing times?? 
 

This process is stressful enough without personal opinions that are not useful on the subject matter. 

I know its stressful you have no idea how much stress has been involved in my family's migration journey.

Any communication by email has to be logged by the case officer because it may have to be retrieved later for a review, an appeal, or a Freedom of Information request. Therefore every email slows he process. Basic rule of Public Service, everything is auditable.

 

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Hello, hope I can be of some help to anyone who reads this and has had a visa application referred to VACCU. I'm not a migration agent or anything but by research and getting in touch with previous applicants who had been through VACCU, I managed to push to get my partner's visa through VACCU in 6-and-a-half months which felt like an absolute eternity but is relatively short from a VACCU timeframe. Please feel free to correct me on any information perceived as wrong in the post, but this has been our experience.

 

 

 

VACCU are a character assessment unit based. If anyone at all applying for a visa through IMMI (be it for a sponsorship visa, working holiday visa, tourist visa etc.) declares that they have a previous conviction no matter how minor it is or if it is from decades ago, their application gets sent for further assessment to a seperate organisation called VACCU (Visa Applicant Character Assessment Unit). From my experience, VACCU are not directly contactable by phone and have a general email address from which you can expect to receive little to no help nor information from (this is vaccu@homeaffairs.gov.au). They are extremely understaffed and there is virtually no information available about them online. They claim to have processing times of between 6-12 months, but we have talked to people with applications in VACCU for 2-3 years.

 

 

 

VACCU will look for proof that you are of good character and not likely to reoffend or pose a threat to the Australian community. In our case, my partner had 2 convictions for assault (both scuffles after alcohol) from the last 10 years. We probably went above and beyond to prove he had been 'rehabilitated', but heres what we ended up providing VACCU with; 1 character reference from a family member, 1 from a former housemate, 1 from a police officer, 1 from a priest, 1 from a local councillor, 1 from a local sports club he volunteered with and 1 from a doctor acknowledging he seeked help for alcohol issues. Try and get character references showing you've volunteered with an organisation and/or took courses or seeked medical help for an issue that caused your offence. It's also good to get references from members seen as 'upstanding' in the community like political figures, police, clergy, school principals etc. as these have more weighting. VACCU want to basically hear that someone is remorseful, has made an effort to change their ways, works hard, is a loyal family man/woman etc. They may also look for statutory declarations in which you have to outline the full details of the offence, and they will look for police certs from any country you've lived in that outline any convictions on file.

 

 

 

Unless your offence is major (fraud/corruption/sexual assualt/terrorism etc.) and you haven't spent significant time in jail, you'll likely get approved through VACCU at some stage. If you have received a suspended sentence of greater than 12 months or a combined 12 months from >2 offences, it gets trickier. But I know multiple people who got approved by VACCU for DUIs and a variety of assault cases, for example. These people had either received fines, community service or short term suspended or jail sentences.

 

 

 

RELEVANT FOR TOURIST VISAS: I talked to two very helpful individuals who had holidays booked in Australia and applied for tourist visas a couple of months prior to travel and declared their convictions on this. Next thing, their applications were referred to VACCU and they were in a panic as they had got no approval even weeks before they were due to travel after spending life savings on planning these trips of a lifetime. Both of these ladies advised us to email the federal/local MP of the area we were moving to (I must clarify my partner's visa application wasn't a tourist visa; it was a skilled sponsorship visa to work in Australia). They had both grovelled to the respective MPs, sending emails saying they had spent all their money on this trip and wanted to support the economy in Oz and were going to visit family/friends they hadn't seen in years etc. It's important to state you've invested so much into this trip and not knowing whether you'll be able to travel weeks before the upcoming holiday is causing anxiety and stress. Also make sure you send them proof that you have a flight booked. Emailing a local/federal MP and also consistently emailing the general VACCU email address to draw their attention to the urgency of the situation worked for both of these ladies. I since advised another lady to do exactly this, and her partner's visa was approved before the week was out. One lady also was able to ring IMMI and get the name of the case officer who was handling her case within VACCU, so everytime she emailed VACCU she could put the case officer's name in the subject box to ensure it got seen by the right person.

 

 

 

We had no luck anytime we rang IMMI Dept of Home Affairs in getting any information on how my partner's application was progressing in VACCU. We probably got through to 6-7 different people. Some are very unwilling to help and just say 'VACCU is seperate to us, we can't access any of their info' and hang up. Some are very empathetic and try hard to help but can't. In a lot of cases, some of them had never even heard of VACCU.

 

 

 

We emailed a local MP and got a response from his office a couple of weeks later saying they had sent correspondence to VACCU and advocated on our behalf, but couldn't do anything until normal processing times (allegedly 6-12 months) had been exceeded and to contact them again should this be the case. So what I gathered is that local/federal MPs can have an influence in getting cases through VACCU where people have upcoming holidays in a matter of weeks, but couldn't immediately help in our situation where we didn't have flights booked and were going to be travelling to Oz for work purposes. We also sent an email to David Coleman's office (Minister for Home Affairs) pleading our case and got a reply nearly 2 months later vaguely saying the department were doing their best. Some people CC'd the Minister for Home Affairs or the local MP anytime they would email VACCU to show they're trying to bring the application to the attention of a higher authority - whether this helps, I'm not sure!

 

 

 

4 months after my partner's application had been sent to VACCU, we were still no clearer on where it stood and his migration agent was not keen to intervene or advocate for us as he had previously been contacting VACCU to try and push getting another client's application through to the point where the VACCU case officer told the migration officer to stop putting pressure on the department for an answer as it might force them into making a hasty and unfavourable decision. The only thing the agent was willing to do was send a letter to VACCU from my partner's employer saying he was urgently required in the country to assume his position. The migration agent also advised us not to directly contact VACCU ourselves, HOWEVER, I chose not to listen to his advice and here is what happened.

 

 

 

So 4 months in, we had no joy from ringing IMMI and from emailing the local MP and Minister for Home Affairs. Our agent was telling us just to wait it out but I was panicking as I had read too many cases of people literally waiting years to go through VACCU. The agent wasn't willing to do anymore, They had submitted a letter from my partner's employer hoping it would speed things up but wouldn't follow up on this. Maybe 4-5 weeks after this letter was submitted, we emailed VACCU directly with our sob story and grovelled and begged for a case officer. A CASE OFFICER WAS ASSIGNED TO US THE NEXT WEEK. The case officer then looked for some standard paperwork through our migration agent in which we had a month to submit, which we did along with another letter from his employer stating the importance of him getting into Australia to start his job. Then we heard nothing for maybe another 5 weeks and again our agent didn't want to push it. With more impatience, we emailed VACCU again ourselves saying we had put so much effort into putting together all the paperwork for aiding in VACCU's decision and begging for them to approve it as my partner was a worker that was needed for essential services in Australia and that the nearly 7 months we had spent waiting for a reply was putting so much pressure on us and causing so much uncertainty etc. WE GOT AN EMAIL 3 DAYS LATER SAYING IT HAD BEEN APPROVED! So anyone on here advising not to email VACCU, I strongly disagree - email them, keep on their case, be polite but grovel and beg and it WILL get you places. I guarantee if we had not contacted them directly ourselves behind our agent's back and put the pressure on, we would have not got a case officer so quickly and not got it approved so quickly. It's likely it would have been in VACCU for probably a year and a half at least. We got it through in 1/3 of that time with perseverance. It was a long, stressful road but I armed myself with as much info as I could find on forums and Facebook searches etc to figure out how the department worked. Even if it meant going against a migration agent's advice to contact them directly. Many migration agents do not know of VACCU nor have ever had dealings with them, so I would advise anyone with a working visa application to do their homework and find an agent familiar with what VACCU want and that WILL put in the hard effort to advocate for you. For a tourist visa, you shouldn't need an agent and should hopefully be able to push an application through by emails to VACCU and a local/federal MP.

 

 

 

Really hope this helps people! Have faith and persevere as VACCU will wear you down but you need to keep the faith. Good luck!

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