It’s not unusual for a case officer to check your social media accounts when deciding on your application.
Within the industry, it is common knowledge that Case Officers can – and do – check social media accounts when determining whether to grant certain visa applications.
This may come as a surprise to you. You might not like the idea of an anonymous Case Officer sitting in an office thousands of kilometres away, swiping their way through your family photos, but it’s their job to protect the integrity of the Australian visa system and social media has a habit of turning up interesting nuggets of information. It also has a habit of turning up inaccurate information.
Hands up if you have an old social media account online that contains outdated information and showcases poor fashion choices. If this is you, and you’re applying for an Australian visa, there’s never been a better time to do a spring clean.
Social media should not be misleading
Our clients often use social media screengrabs to help prove de facto relationships. Those Christmas photos of you and your other half carving the turkey, or romantic, time-stamped Valentine’s Day tributes declaring your love for each other, are very handy to have.
However, social media can also work against you.
If you’re applying for a partner visa, but your Facebook profile says you’re in an open relationship, it might raise some questions. Similarly, if your profile picture has you in a loving embrace with your ex from eight years ago, it’s not a good look.
You might have long ago abandoned Facebook in favour of Instagram, and now only use it to wish elderly relatives happy birthday, but the Case Officer from the Department of Home Affairs doesn’t know this. They might issue you with a ‘please explain letter’, which is a headache you could avoid by updating the profile or removing it.
In 2016, during a hearing relating to a visa application appeal, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia ruled that information posted on Facebook can be considered “evidentiary material”.
Social media audit
Your social media accounts should reflect your life as it is at the time of lodging your visa application. Any confusing or misleading information has the potential to raise questions.
It’s always a good idea to Google yourself and do a quick audit of your social media profiles to check everything is up-to-date and accurate.
Profile already private?
This doesn’t always matter. Your friends and family members might have public profiles containing inaccurate information about you, and a Case Officer could stumble upon that. Also, when was the last time you checked your settings? There might be more publicly available information about you than you think.
It’s not essential to be ‘Facebook official’ with your other half. A Case Officer can’t base their decision on this. Plenty of people hate the thought of sharing private information online. However, if your profile explicitly says ‘single’ then it might be better to change it to ‘in a relationship’. This way you don’t need to publicly name your partner, but it’s a more honest reflection of your relationship status.
No social media evidence
Social media evidence is not essential; there are plenty of ways to demonstrate your commitment to each other and prove your shared life together.
Can a Case Officer contact you via social media?
No. A Case Officer won’t engage with you on social media or comment on any of your posts. They won’t leave a trace.
The only way you’ll come into contact with your Case Officer is if they call you to conduct an interview or request a face-to-face interview.
This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s not a rare occurrence.
Questions they might ask you include:
– Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
– Where do your partner’s parents live?
– How much does your partner earn?
The question possibilities are endless really, but you get the drift.
The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances.
There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here.
Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here.
You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application.