As expected, the Department of Immigration has undergone some major changes since the change of Government in September last year.

Following the swearing-in of the new ministry led by his honourable Mr Tony Abbott on 18 September 2013, there have been a number of Government changes within the Department. The Administrative Arrangements Order issued by the Governor-General confirms the following changes to the Department's responsibilities:

  • The Department has been renamed the Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP);
  • The new Minister for the newly renamed portfolio of Immigration & Border Protection is Mr Scott Morrison MP. Senator Michaelia Cash is the Assistant Minister;
  • The Department will now manage entry, stay and departure arrangements for non-citizens, border control (including border control other than quarantine and inspection), citizenship, ethnic affairs and customs;
  • Settlement and multicultural affairs functions have been transferred to the renamed Department of Social Services;
  • The Adult Migrant English Programme has moved to the Department of Industry; and
  • The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is now a portfolio agency within the greater Immigration and Border Protection portfolio.
  • The Department will also contribute to Operation Sovereign Borders, as well as the joint agency task force, which has been established to combat people smuggling and protect Australia's borders.  

Visa Application Charges (VACs)

A reminder that as of 1 September last year, all Visa Application Charges increased by 15%. The only visa subclasses that were not affected by this increase were Student (Temporary) and Tourist visas. This is in addition to the new Visa Pricing Model that was introduced on 1 July 2013.

What does this mean for you?

The application process for visas remains complicated despite the further increase to Visa Application Charges. If you are enquiring about or applying for a visa, it is important you speak with an experienced registered migration agent. They will be able to assist you with the process and ensure the application proceeds smoothly.