13 Jun Request for More Information – the Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous
Let’s get the legal jargon out of the way early: Section 56 of the Migration Act 1958 (further information may be sought) allows for additional information to be requested when making a decision to grant or refuse an application. The case officer emails the ‘authorised person for all written correspondence’. In industry, we refer to it simply as an ‘RFI’, which is short for ‘Request for Further Information’.
What it means essentially is that, although the case officer can refuse based on all information provided (all of which they must consider), they are also allowed to seek further clarification (although they are not bound to do so, therefore consider yourself lucky if asked). This could be evidential such as a document(s), or explanatory in the format of a submission, which may also include documents and further evidence to substantiate your claims.
How detrimental the situation is can usually be indicated by the timeline the Department provides:
- 28 days: The most common and lengthiest duration given to respond.
- 14 days: Half the time usually allocated, not as common.
- 5 days: The case officer is very sceptical and on track to refuse unless you can convince them otherwise.
When further clarification is needed from a 28 day request, a second request is usually assigned for 14 days, if you are fortunate enough to have such an opportunity (as the Department don’t have to ask for any further information at all).
It’s not all doom and gloom though. To give you further insight, I’ve put together a positive, a negative, and a flat-out ridiculous example of what an RFI may contain:
The case officer might have a perfectly sensible and obtainable request, especially in applications where several months or financial quarters have passed since the date of lodgement. Typically in an employer sponsorship application for example, this could involve a case officer asking for updated financials and organisation chart update. PLEASE NOTE – A good agent like myself would update pending cases every 3 months (financial quarter) regardless. Something longer than a year like a regional 187 sponsorship you would also look to do an updated salary justification, which although tedious is something I do when every 9 months lapsed. If you are sceptical that your agent hasn’t done this, then contact them and ask, you are within your rights as a client to do so. Don’t take ‘the Department will ask for that information if they want it’ excuse, because the case officer is certainly not required to do so and can refuse the application based on the information provided. I hear of this all too often when other agents come to me needing the expertise to fix this mistake.