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Auckland Shuffle

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The "Auckland Shuffle" is a name given to the process whereby those in Australia on a temporary visa need to leave the country in order to be granted an offshore permanent visa. The term is based on the "Buffalo Shuffle" - a similar process in Canadian immigration involving people having visas granted at the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, NY - a short drive from the Canada/United States frontier.

The process is usually as follows:

  • DIAC tell the applicant they are ready to grant the visa (the visa is never granted at this point);
  • Applicant advises DIAC they are ready to leave Australia and also which offshore office they plan to attend;
  • Applicant leaves Australia (and advises DIAC case officer). Usually the destination is Auckland, New Zealand. (Singapore is a popular choice for those in WA or the Northern Territory). Otherwise you can go to home country.
  • The whole family must leave Australia (except family members who are Australian citizens).
  • On Day One outside Australia, applicant approaches the Australian mission.
  • Usually, the visa can be granted and stamped within a few working days. However, it can take longer. It is impossible to predict, so it is best to have some flexibility to change your return flights.
  • Once the permanent visa is granted, the temporary visa is cancelled.
  • Visa holders return to Australia and are immigration cleared as permanent residents.

Note that although Australian permanent residents may freely enter New Zealand, this does not apply to those who have not yet been granted visas. Admission to New Zealand is not usually a problem for British citizens but may be for other nationality.

The advantage of going to Auckland is that the Australian Consulate General is quite familiar with the process of dealing with visa applicants in this situation.


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