HELPING HAND: Department of Home Affairs staff Michael and Zepphorah at the department's visa outreach event in Gatton on Tuesday.
HELPING HAND: Department of Home Affairs staff Michael and Zepphorah at the department's visa outreach event in Gatton on Tuesday. Dominic Elsome

Home Affairs visits Gatton

THE Department of Home Affairs held a pop-up shop front at Gatton Centrelink offices on Tuesday, to provide assistance to anyone who's visa was about to expire or had expired.

Home Affairs staff Michael and Zepphorah were on hand to give advice to anyone who needed it and spoke to more than a dozen people about a variety of migration-related issues.

There were also meetings with key stakeholders in the region, including the Queensland Police Service, Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network.

Department deputy state director Todd Jacob said these groups were often contacted by individuals with visa issues and the meetings were to ensure these situations were handled correctly.

"We want to make sure they're giving out the right information,” he said.

Mr Jacob noted the Lockyer Valley was a key region for the department, as the region's agricultural businesses attracted a large number of overseas workers.

He said that pop-up events such as this enabled the department to help those who had visa issues and the department hoped to run them more regularly.

"By attending one of the department's outreach sessions, someone whose visa is about to expire or has already expired can get their visa status in order,” he said.

"Some people don't knowingly become unlawful. They may get confused about the date their visa expires. Others get incorrect advice from friends and family.

"And in some cases, people need practical assistance in returning to their home country.”

Mr Jacob stressed that anyone with an expired visa who came forward voluntarily would be given every assistance to help them resolve the issue.

He added that anyone who attended the events could do so anonymously, with no requirement to identify themselves in any way.

"I strongly urge anyone who has overstayed their visa or has any questions about their visa situation to come and talk to our officers in a friendly, low-key environment when we come to a town near you,” Mr Jacob said.


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