Who We Are
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is headed by the Secretary Martin Bowles PSM and four deputy secretaries – Dr Wendy Southern PSM, Elizabeth Cosson AM CSC, Peter Vardos PSM, and Matt Cahill A/g.
See: Senior Staff
It has more than 9500 staff, including about 1000 locally engaged staff based at Australian diplomatic missions overseas.
The department's key objectives are to:
- contribute to Australia's future through managed migration
- protect refugees and contribute to humanitarian policy internationally
- contribute to Australia's security through border management and traveller facilitation
- make fair and reasonable decisions for people entering or leaving Australia, ensuring compliance with Australia's immigration laws and integrity in decision-making
- support migrants and refugees to settle in the community and participate in Australian society
- promote Australian citizenship and a multicultural Australia.
The Australian Government takes its humanitarian responsibilities very seriously and Australia's offshore Humanitarian Program continues to rank in the top three humanitarian resettlement programs in the world, alongside the United States and Canada. In 2011–12, the government provided 13 750 places in its Humanitarian Program. A total of 13 759 visas were granted under the program, which included 6718 visas granted under the offshore component and 7041 visas granted under the onshore component.
At the same time, the government looks to the department to ensure the integrity of Australia's borders. Border security is a key component of Australia's national security arrangements and the department works actively with other countries to curb the capacity of people smugglers and terrorists to circumvent border controls.
The purpose of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is to 'build Australia’s future through the well-managed movement and settlement of people'.
The department's philosophy and future directions are set out in The Strategic Intent 2012–15.
See: The Strategic Intent 2012–15
The department is committed to ensuring that it is open and accountable, deals fairly and reasonably with clients and has staff that are well trained and supported. The department's operational theme is people our business.
Since its establishment in 1945, the department has managed the arrival and settlement in Australia of about 7.2 million migrants from 200 countries, including about 775 000 refugees under humanitarian programs.
During 2011–12, the department's staff:
- granted visas to 184 998 people to migrate to Australia
- granted visas to 13 759 people under the Humanitarian Program
- issued more than 4.4 million permanent and temporary entry visas
- approved Australian citizenship by conferral, descent and resumption for 114 685 people
- facilitated 31.63 million people across the border.
Are you curious about what type of situation you may be presented with as a Department of Immigration and Citizenship employee? The video 'A Day in the Life' highlights the fast-paced and dynamic environment staff encounter on a daily basis.
Focusing on the department's theme, 'people our business', the video demonstrates the diversity of situations employees may find themselves in. The roles featured include airport liaison officers, client service officers, compliance field officers, case officers and community liaison officers.
See: ImmiTV–A Day in the Life – (streaming video)