Tip: How to merge the most up-to-date Forms
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has just handed down a case that should remind every Migration Agent that when lodging an application with the Department of Immigration or a merits review application to a Tribunal, it is essential that the correct version of the prescribed form is used.
In the case of Ali v Minister for Immigration & Anor  FCCA 369, the Federal Circuit Court made it clear that if the incorrect version of a form is used for lodging a merits review application, the application will be invalid. Judge Antoni Lucev specifically found that [at paragraph 19]:
On the proper construction of the statutory scheme and the authorities, the applicant’s failure to file an application for review on the correct version of the prescribed form means that the Tribunal’s jurisdiction was not invoked and consequently the Tribunal did not have the power to review the application. …
For the lodgement of applications with the Department, the same kind of rules apply. Regulation 2.07 of the Migration Regulations, being a prescribed requirement under Section 46 of the Migration Act, dictates that an application will only be a valid visa application if the correct prescribed form is used for lodgement. The consequences of not using the prescribed form is an invalid application.
So when using Migration Manager’s PDF form filler, how do you know if you are using the most recent form? The answer is that when you open up the Form Filler, and select a Form, that you should look at the ‘Last Downloaded’ field to see when you last downloaded this form from Legendcom/the MRT.
Now this field won’t tell you how the date of the last download corresponds to the date of the forms released by the Department/MRT. As such it is recommended that you always ensure that any form you are using is not more than a few days old (even less if you know that there has been a recent release of updated forms by the Department – usually 3 to 4 times per year).
So how do you download the most up-to-date version of the form? You have two options. The first option is that you can perform a full Online Update (accessed via the Help menu) which will download every single form from Legendcom and the MRT. This generally takes about 10 minutes to complete depending on the speed of your internet and how well Legendcom is functioning at the time. The second, and much faster option, is to download just the form you need using the refresh/download button in the Form Filler. If you click this refresh button, Migration Manager will download just this one form for you, with the whole process being completed in just a matter of seconds.
Once the form has finished downloading, you should see the ‘Last Downloaded’ field update to show ‘Today’ and the time you completed the downloaded.
By keeping up to date with the forms released by the Department/MRT and regularly using Migration Manager’s built in Form downloader, you can rest easy that you are lodging applications using the current versions.
Authors Comment: Thank you to Peter Bollard for highlighting this Federal Circuit Court case in his recent newsletter (issue 470). If you have not signed up to receive his regular newsletter, I highly recommend you do as it often contains lots of useful information about what is happening in the world of Migration law (sign up at: www.lewisbollardmigration.com.au )