I have a situation with Australian immigration that sounds like a cheap scam...

Immigration process goes as follows, you submit documents to one of agencies that are appointed by the Australian government, in my case ACS (Australian Computer Society), and based on paperwork provided they give you certain amount of points.

Then you go to SkillSelect where you again submit documents and they show you how many points you have...

then you have to pay application fee, for me it was 7800AUD (~6k$)... Then you need to submit documents again to Immigration and they can give you radically different points... which exactly happened to me...

There is mechanism to ask for your application money back which I submitted but let's say they refuse to give the money back, which from my interaction with them so far feels that they might... which international agency should I turn to to take them to court?

What international body would one go to file a case against Australian Immigration?

  • 8
    Probably the proper venue is an Australian court. Why do you think an international body should be involved?
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 2:54
  • 5
    Courts in common-law jurisdictions, as well as in other systems, can and often do rule against the executive administration of the government. A discussion of the reasons for this is perhaps beyond the scope of this question; perhaps you should ask another question.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:31
  • 12
    Well, you qualified to be a fully fledged member of Western Society already by having your first thought be "who and how can I sue" :)
    – user0306
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    @stannius not really about travel could be considered expatriates.se though...
    – pom
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:22
  • 8
    No legal representation, didn't fully read the documents and warnings, wishes for a 'international' court to adjudicate on a sovereign nation, and can't differentiate between immigration process and scam... while it always sucks to have immigration issues (especially with $7000AUD!) it seems a broader understanding of bureaucracy might be in order.
    – NPSF3000
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


You don't.

The only proper venue to raise the concern you do would be an Australian court or administrative agency process.

Each country is the judge of its own immigration policies.

There are no international courts which would have jurisdiction over the dispute you describe.


No international body has jurisdiction

Australia is a sovereign nation which means it has sole jurisdiction over its immigration policy. So, short answer: no international body has jurisdiction.

Who does have jurisdiction?

As it seems that the decision made is that the points you have been assessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have not met the amount required in their invitation to you.

If you wish to dispute this decision the correct venues are, in order,

  1. Informal dispute resolution with DIBP - i.e. ask them for their reasoning.
  2. Formal dispute resolution with DIBP
  3. Review of the decision by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  4. A case in the Federal Court starting with the Federal Circuit Court and working your way up
  5. Appeal to the Minister for Immigration

The role of Australian Computer Society (ACS) and DIBP

You are mistaken in thinking that these organisations do the same thing: they actually have totally different roles in the process and as far as I can see they have both discharged them appropriately.

ACS is tasked with assessing your foreign qualifications and experience. They have done this and they state that your qualifications meet the requirements for a Developer Programmer. They make no statements that you will qualify for immigration, indeed their website specifically says:

Applicants must have a clear understanding of their personal visa requirements as set by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or should obtain professional assistance from a Registered Migration Agent (MARA) before applying for an ICT skill assessment.

If you had received your qualifications at an Australian university and your experience was in Australia, this step would not have been necessary.

In a completely separate process, you have put in an expression of interest with DIBP. DIBP have invited you to apply and would have specified the points total you needed to meet.

With everything you provided, including ACS assessment of your qualifications, DIBP has assessed your application and found that you did not meet the requirements that they set for you.

You are not entitled to a refund of the application fee: that's whay its called an application fee and not a success fee: you pay the fee to make the application. DIBP have done all that the law required of them and, as a government body performing a government duty, your relationship is not contractual so you have no grounds to sue for it.

Where you went wrong

On the face of it, your self-assessment of your points seems wrong to me based on what you have posted.

For example, you have given yourself 5 points for having a post graduate Specialist Education Qualification - that is a Masters by research or a PhD in one of the nominated areas (Computer Science is one). ACS have equated your qualifications to a Bachelors degree - this doesn't cut it.

You have also claimed 5 points for the Australian Study requirement. Have you actually studied for 2 years in Australia?

On the other hand, assuming you have certified experience of between 3 and 5 years from ACS (I can only see 11 months in the letter but there may be more that you didn't post) you should have got 5 points for that.

You may be entitled to 55 points but probably not more than that.

It may not be too late to amend your application but you should hire a migration agent now to help you do this. However, if you don't qualify, you don't qualify and your money is gone.

Skillselect Terms of Service

The terms of service that you agreed to include:

That the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is not liable for the completeness or accuracy of any information provided by me where I do not provide information that is true and correct in all respects.

That the Department of Immigration and Border Protection accepts no responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of any of the information contained on or accessed through this website including SkillSelect and makes no representations about its suitability for any particular purpose. I should make my own judgement about these matters.

That to the extent permitted by law, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is not liable for my loss, expense or damage arising from my access and use of, or reliance on, the information contained on or accessed through this website whether or not caused by any negligence on the part of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection or its agents.

As previously mentioned, you do not have a contract with DIBP and are therefore not protected by Australian Consumer Law and have limited, if any, access to negligence law. If you can demonstrate that DIBP were grossly or recklessly negligent you might have a case for reimbursement. However, they did tell you not to rely on anything they said and that you should seek your own legal advice.

  • 2
    Hi Dale, how do you explain SkillSelect giving me 65 points? I mean I have never given myself any points it was all done by me submitting paperwork and then getting it from their institutions... Had I know that I don't have the points I would have never filed application in the first place.... This is totally a scam by Australian government... After ACS you go to skill select and they provide you with EOI... and points Only then you go to DIBP and pay the fee
    – pom
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 6:38
  • 1
    @MatasVaitkevicius Does SkillSelect specify anywhere that it should give the same results as the actual application? Odds are it probably says something to the opposite effect, i.e. they probably aren't liable if the two don't agree.
    – JMac
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 12:52
  • 5
    @Matas If this video is what SkillSelect looks like, you're wrong when you say it's not a self-assessment. You don't directly say "I get X points for Y thing," but the system appears to just take your claims about your qualifications at face value (instead of having another human review supporting documentation to determine your qualifications). The language on the DIBP website also supports the interpretation that no DIBP officer reviews your documentation until you make a visa application.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 18:40
  • 4
    @Matas It looks like this is how Australia does things. SkillSelect and skill assessments are cheaper than an application and are used as pre-screening. You selected "Yes" to "Does the client meet the Australian study requirements for the Skilled Migration points test," right? If so, SkillSelect assumed you were telling the truth and put down 5 points for it. But your documentation showed that you did not meet this requirement (which takes 2 years of study in Australia), so DIBP did not give you those points.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 19:07
  • 2
    @Matas When you selected that you had met the Australian study requirements, did another question pop up along the lines of "Does the client meet the postgraduate specialist education requirement" that you said "yes" to? If so, that'd be why it gave you the points for it. In short, SkillSelect seems to be asking you "do you meet XYZ qualification," and if you think you do it gives you the points. If DIBP says that you don't meet it, not only don't you get those points, but you're also considered to have been lying in your EOI (which can result in denial even if you still have enough points).
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 19:10

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