What happens when you’re in Australia, and want to leave to visit family for holidays… but your Visa is expired? Should you go and hide? Will you be shipped off shore?

The media is full of stories like these. But the reality is that the Department of Immigration will do its best to help people if they’re upfront and honest.

We would like you to meet Candice – Candy for short. She is extremely intelligent. She is also a very relaxed sort of person, which makes her occasionally disorganised in her personal life. She tends to assume – rightly, in most cases – that things will always work out ok.

Candy came to Australia for business purposes. During her stay, her visa expired. Candy assumed that her employer would’ve said something to her if there was a problem, and so it didn’t even occur to her to keep tabs on it. Unfortunately, her employer wasn’t on top of things either.

Business Woman on Cell Phone. Photograph by Randy Kashka, used under Attribution License http://www.flickr.com/photos/randykashka/
Attribution Commercial Use License. Photo by Randy Kashka.

When Candy tried to leave the country, she was held up at customs because Immigration pulled her aside for counselling. Candy was not arrested. Her travel was not interrupted, and she was not unduly interfered with. But it was an incredibly uncomfortable experience, and not one she would want to go through again.

One thing that Immigration informed Candy is that she may now face up to three years’ exclusion from Australia. Many factors come into play as to whether or not the exclusion is put in place. If you are curious about these, call us: (07) 3166 9100.

Candy’s employer ought to have known this is what she would have gone through. Employers in Australia have a responsibility for making sure that their employees are legal. Allowing Candy to work on an expired visa may have left them open to criminal action.

One of the best things you can do is to check your visa entitlements every time you think about travelling. And if you’re an employer, you need to be on top of your employees’ (and visiting employees’) entitlements.

If you haven’t used Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO), go and make yourself familiar with it. It’s a great idea to save it to your phone as a shortcut, so you have access to it all the time. Click here to go to VEVO.