Genuine Visitor Policy

For the subclass 600 Visitor group of visas, Australia has put in place a policy enabled by migration regulations designed to assess the likelihood that an applicant may overstay his/her visa or otherwise breach their visa conditions while in Australia. Satisfying this policy forms part of the requirements for these two visa subclasses.

The following language is taken directly from the DIBP Procedures Advice Manual (PAM3) and is current as of 1 March 2015. Please note that this information is not immigration law or regulation, and represents only general guidelines that DIBP can use to interpret migration laws and regulations.

The following information is intended for general information only, and is not migration advice and does not constitute guidance for lodging an application for a subclass 600 or any other visa – it is solely intended to help you better understand how DIBP assesses the Genuine Visitor regulations as applied to subclass 600 visas. The following references, but does not include Australian immigration law and regulations that form the framework for visa applications. For more information on migration regulations and complete details on the subclass 600 visitor visas, please contact us.

From DIAC Procedures Advice Manual (PAM3)

Genuine Visitor Policy

Current as of 1 March 2015

7 The genuine temporary stay requirement

7.1 The genuine temporary stay requirements

As per regulation 600.211 and the overarching visitor visa principles outlined in section 3.2 Principles, it is a criterion for all FA-600 streams that ‘the applicant genuinely intends to stay temporarily in Australia for the purpose for which the visa is granted’.

Officers must consider:

whether the applicant has complied substantially with the conditions to which the last substantive visa, or any subsequent bridging visa, held by the applicant was subject and
whether the applicant intends to comply with the conditions to which the FA-600 visa would be subject and
any other relevant matter.

7.2 Assessing whether the applicant meets the genuine temporary stay requirement

In establishing whether 600.211(a) is satisfied, relevant considerations about the applicant’s visa compliance history may include, but are not limited to:

has the applicant previously travelled to Australia, and if so,
did they comply with the conditions of their last visa (or if not, were the circumstances beyond their control) and
did the applicant leave before their visa ceased.
In establishing whether 600.211(b) is satisfied, relevant considerations about the applicant’s intention to comply with conditions of the FA-600 visa may include, but are not limited to:

* is there any evidence to suggest that the applicant may work during their stay (contrary to conditions 8101​ and 8115)
* if the applicant has requested a long stay period, what will they do during that time and how will they support themselves without working in Australia and
* is there any evidence to suggest that the applicant intends to study more than three months (contrary to 8201).
(Note: Section 68 About visitor visa conditions outlines the conditions for each stream of the FA-600 visa.)

In establishing whether 600.211(c) is satisfied, relevant considerations of any other matter may include, but are not limited to:

* the personal circumstances of the applicant that would encourage them to return to their home country (country of usual residence) at the end of the proposed visit, such as:
ongoing employment

* the presence of close family members in their home country – that is, does the applicant have more close family members living in their home country than in Australia

* property, or other significant assets, owned in their home country

* whether the applicant is currently residing in a country whose nationals represent a low risk of immigration non-compliance, even if the applicant is originally from a country whose nationals represent a statistically higher risk of non-compliance

the personal circumstances of the applicant in their home country or general conditions in the home country that might encourage them to remain in Australia, such as:

* economic circumstances – including unemployment or employment that, based on knowledge of local employment conditions (such as salary rates) would not constitute a strong incentive for the applicant to leave Australia
* economic disruption, including shortages, famine, or high levels of unemployment, or natural disasters in the applicant’s home country.

the applicant’s personal ties to Australia, that is:
* does the applicant have more close family members living in Australia than in their home country

* is the applicant subject of adoption proceedings that have not been resolved in their home country

* military service commitments

* civil disruption, including war, lawlessness or political upheaval in the applicant’s home country and

* the applicant’s credibility in terms of character and conduct (for example, false and misleading information provided with visa application)

whether the purpose and proposed duration of the applicant’s visit and their proposed activities in Australia are reasonable and consistent (for example, is the period of stay consistent with “tourism”)
previous immigration and travel history, such as:
* previous visa applications for Australia
* previous overseas travel, that is, has the applicant travelled to countries other than Australia.

In assessing this factor, officers may give weight to applicants who had travelled to and complied with the immigration laws of a country(ies) that has significant incentives for the applicant to remain in that country(ies), either for economic or personal reasons. However, officers may have to use judicious discretion if there is a lack of travel history.

information in statistical, intelligence and analysis reports on migration fraud and immigration compliance compiled by the department about nationals from the applicant’s home country. Such information, including the Modified Non Return Rate (MNRR), which is published quarterly on the department’s website may assist officers in deciding whether closer examination of an application is required.
Officers may request further evidence from the applicant, if considered appropriate, if departmental statistical or intelligence reports on migration fraud, or profiles based on such reports, indicate that there is a significantly greater likelihood of nationals from the applicant’s home country:

* staying in Australia beyond the expiry of their visa
* having their visa cancelled
* being refused entry to Australia or
* making asylum claims or applying for a protection visa (PV).

Note: The mere fact that an applicant matches the characteristics of a profile is not grounds to refuse to grant a visa. Profiles are merely an alert that closer scrutiny of the applicant’s circumstances might be required. All applications must be considered on their own merits taking into account all the information and supporting documentation provided by the applicant.

Care should be taken not to breach any previous applicant’s privacy (for example, the inviter), especially in any decision record that may be provided to the applicant. If a family member or the inviter has an adverse immigration history, s65 delegates can refer to information which the applicant has provided with the application or information which would be reasonably known by the applicant. Section 65 delegates should not refer to the making of PV applications by other parties. As with any safeguard or integrity information, this information can be taken into account to determine the level of scrutiny to apply to the applicant’s claims.

If consideration of the 600.211 criteria raises doubts about the applicant’s ability to meet the genuine temporary stay requirement, such as where the applicant’s circumstances may suggest the need for greater scrutiny, officers may consider or request additional evidence that demonstrates that the applicant intends a genuine temporary stay.

Additional evidence that officers may wish to consider in deciding whether an applicant intends a genuine temporary stay includes:

* evidence that the applicant has been employed for at least the previous 12 months, has approved leave for the period of stay sought and will continue to be employed on their return home or
* if self-employed, evidence they have owned their own business for the previous 12 months or
* if retired/non-working have other financial commitments and/or family/social ties that would provide sufficient inducement for them to return to their home country at the end of their visit or
good immigration history.
* Generally, offers of support or guarantees given by family and friends in Australia are not sufficient evidence of a genuine temporary stay. The onus is on the applicant to satisfy the s65 delegate that the applicant intends only to stay temporarily in Australia. Guarantees from connections in Australia can, however, be critical in assessing whether an applicant has access to adequate means of support. See section

Adequate means of support.

If refusing a visitor visa in relation to the genuine temporary stay criterion, s65 delegates must take care not to confuse the applicant’s financial circumstances as an incentive to return and the applicant’s access to ‘adequate means of support’.