Privacy

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) is concerned with your personal information. The rules governing how we deal with your personal information are contained in a set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). Below is a summary of our practices and procedures regarding access to and correction of personal information. Additional information can be found in our privacy policy.

The Privacy Act also requires the department to notify an individual of certain matters when we collect personal information about them. Form 1442i is the notification of those matters.

Access to your personal information

You can seek access to information about yourself in departmental documents (other than exempt documents) under the Privacy Act or the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

The best way for you to access your personal information depends on the circumstances:

Immediate access
You can seek to obtain original documents or copies of personal information by approaching us. Where the information is immediately available through our systems or on an electronic file, access will be allowed, unless we consider that is a reason under the Privacy Act, FOI Act or other relevant law to withhold the information.

Where the information is not immediately available or might be exempt
You will be requested to complete Form 424A Request for access to documents or information. This will allow us to track and monitor each request to ensure that we meet our legislative obligations under the FOI Act or Privacy Act.

Correcting your personal information

You can ask us to change the personal information we hold about you if you think that the information:

  • is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading, and
  • has been, is being, or is available to be used for an administrative purpose, and
  • does not give rise to any questions of the person's identity.

How we amend or annotate a record depends on a number of circumstances.

Australian citizens

If you are an Australian citizen seeking to change your personal information on your evidence of Australian citizenship, such as your name or date of birth details, you must submit Form 119 with the required documents and fee with the Evidence Processing Unit in Parramatta. You application will be assessed under the provisions of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

If you seek amendment under the FOI Act to information which would cause your Evidence of Australian Citizenship to be different to your records, your request will be referred to Citizenship.

Non-Australian citizens

If you are not an Australian citizen but you have adequate documentation in support of an amendment to your personal information, such as an Australian government issued marriage certificate, counter staff can action the change without a formal request under the Privacy Act.

If you are not an Australian citizen and you do not have adequate documentation, you will be required to complete a request using Form 424C. You do not have to pay a fee for this request. Your request must be in writing and:

  • give details of the document and the information you believe is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading, and
  • give reasons why you are asking for amendments, and
  • provide an address (physical or electronic) for us to reply to.

The Form 424C will be forwarded to the FOI section for assessment under either the Privacy or FOI Act.

Where our records about you are clearly wrong, they might be amended under the Privacy Act without the need for you to make a request for amendment under the FOI Act. Contact your nearest departmental office if you think there is an obvious error in your records.

If we decide we will not change your information, you can ask us to add a note setting out:

  • what information you are concerned about
  • whether you think the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
  • your reasons for the claim
  • any other information you think will correct this.

As long as your note is not considered to be irrelevant, defamatory or unnecessarily long, we will add it to our information about you. You can also apply directly for us to add to, rather than change, our information about you. There is no fee for this service.

Illegal Maritime Arrivals on Bridging Visa E

In respect of illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs), requests to us to change biographic details (name or date of birth) should be made officially in writing (Form 1022 or Form 1023). The form should be sent to our nearest office together with high-resolution scans (600dpi) of the original, genuine and verifiable documentary evidence to support the identity change.

We do not amend an IMA’s claimed identity (principal details) until the person has been granted a substantive visa or undergone an identity assessment. We will instead place an associated statement onto the file (create an alias based on the identity information provided). The person will be advised in writing of the refusal to amend principal details under the Privacy Act within 30 days from the date of the request. If the person is granted a substantive visa they may apply for a new ImmiCard. The new card will have the previous ImmiCard details printed on the back.

IMAs who present original and genuine travel documents, such as passports, as evidence of a biodata error can have their personal information changed at a Compliance counter at their nearest office. A new ImmiCard will be issued with the corrected identity and the previous ImmiCard details printed on the back.

IMAs who apply with Form 424C will be forwarded to the FOI section for assessment under either the Privacy or FOI Act.

ImmiCard holders and changes under FOI Act and Privacy

ImmiCards are underpinned by robust policies to effectively manage the claimed identities of undocumented arrivals and any subsequent changes to their biodata. ImmiCards are point-in-time documents representative of the card holder’s claimed identity at the time of their visa grant. If the card holder is granted a substantive visa and a change to their bio details has taken place during the visa process, a new ImmiCard is issued in the new identity with the previous recorded details printed on the back.

Changes under the FOI or Privacy Acts might not result in the reissue of an ImmiCard. ImmiCard holders will need to present their FOI letter or Change of Name/Marriage Certificates in conjunction with the ImmiCard as evidence of the identity change.

Privacy complaints and enquiries

Making a complaint to us

If you believe we have wrongly collected or handled your information, you can:

  • telephone our Global Feedback Unit on 133 177 during business hours
  • complete an online feedback form
  • write to:

The Manager
Global Feedback Unit
GPO Box 241
Melbourne Vic. 3001
AUSTRALIA

  • contact us directly through any of our offices.

We are committed to the quick and fair resolution of complaints. Every complaint will be investigated and complainants will be advised of the outcome.

Making a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)

If you are unsatisfied with our response, you can write to the OAIC. The OAIC can investigate privacy complaints about the protection of personal information, order compensation to be paid where warranted and direct departments to change the way they handle personal information. If you need help lodging a compliant with the OAIC, you can call the OAIC Enquiries Line on 1300 363 992. If calling from outside Australia, you can call: +61 2 9284 9749.

The OAIC can receive privacy complaints through:

  • the online Privacy Complaint form (please refer to the OAIC’s website)
  • by mail (if a person has concerns about postal security, they might want to consider sending their complaint by registered mail)
  • by fax
  • by email (email that is not encrypted can be copied or tracked).

Contact details for the OAIC are:

Email
enquiries@oaic.gov.au
Fax
+61 2 9284 9666
Post
Sydney Office
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

You can make a complaint directly to the OAIC rather than to us. However, it is likely that the OAIC would recommend that you try to resolve the complaint directly with us in the first instance.

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