An Indian citizen is challenging the decision to cancel his Australian visitor visa while he was on his way to Melbourne, over a month after the visa was granted.
An Indian citizen was refused permission to board a connecting flight to Melbourne over a month after he was issued a visitor visa.
25-year-old Daivik Jitendra Patel boarded Air India’s Ahmedabad- Delhi-Melbourne flight after completing the immigration formalities on 18 January. He was waiting for the security check at the Delhi airport when he was removed from the queue and told he couldn’t continue his journey.
“My name was announced and I was removed from the queue just when I was getting ready to board the plane again. Officials at the Delhi airport told me nothing other than that they had received a message from the Australian authorities not to allow me to board the flight,” he told SBS Punjabi.
Mr Patel says he checked his visa status online and it was valid until later that day when the Department of Home Affairs issued a notice of cancellation for his visitor visa issued on 8th December last year.
In his visa application, Mr Patel said he was self-employed and managed a wooden door production unit in Naroda town in Gujarat.
However, when the Department officials phoned Mr Patel’s business, Prakruti Wooden Industries, and made inquiries on the day he was travelling to Melbourne, the officials said they found discrepancies in the information he had provided in his visa application.
In the cancellation notice, the Department has recorded that the person who answered the phone identified himself as Mr Patel’s cousin who runs another wooden industrial unit- Aakruti Wood Products- on the same address and claimed Mr Patel was his business partner. Though he claimed Mr Patel had been involved in the business ever since it was started nearly ten years ago, he had limited information about Mr Patel’s role which the Department said was of “significant concern” given that both the businesses shared the same address and telephone number.
The Department said it also contacted Mr Patel’s business partner in Prakruti Wooden Industries but he did not know about Mr Patel’s remuneration. He also denied any information about the leave sanction letter that Mr Patel submitted with his visa application purportedly signed by his partner. Neither did he know about the sanctioned leave period.
Mr Patel says his partner is not actively involved in the business and therefore couldn't remember the exact details when the officials called. He says he felt humiliated when he wasn’t allowed to continue his journey without giving him an opportunity.
“If they had any doubts they could have asked me for any evidence they were seeking. They didn’t give me a chance and I have lost the money I spent on my air tickets and hotel bookings in Australia,” he said.
"I had everything planned. It feels so humiliating."
Ranbir Singh, Mr Patel’s migration agent says he is preparing to appeal against cancellation decision.
“We are saying that the people the Department contacted were caught off guard. It’s not always easy to remember the exact date and time when you suddenly receive a phone call. The Department has also misinterpreted their testimonies,” Ms Singh told SBS Punjabi.
“And it’s unheard of for the immigration department to make such inquiries over a month after a visitor visa has been granted and when the person is on the flight to Australia.”