As part of their budgetary plans, the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) announced they will consolidate their London-based European, Ottawa-based Americas, and Sydney-based domestic service centres. This process has been completed and is now known as the Global Service Centre.
What this means is that any phone query relating to immigration will be processed in one central Australian location. Overseas clients of Home Affairs, which in most circumstances will be visa applicants, will need to call an Australian domestic phone number for their immigration queries. That number is: +61 2 6196 0196. All other Service Centre numbers have ceased operating. Callers within Australia can continue to use the domestic number: 131 881.
What is significant is that the operating hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm in all European and American time zones.
Those expecting to be able to bypass the Global Service Centre and have their queries answered by their local Australian diplomatic mission may be disappointed when told they must use the Global Service Centre.
Another major change is that from December 2018, ‘drop in’ and general enquiry services offered in Home Affairs’ Australian offices will cease. Services at local offices will be available by appointment only.
These two intiatives can be seen as cost saving measures to drive queries online.