Brace yourselves, everyone! The Administrative Appeals Tribunal wants to stop the world and get off.

It seems the Coronavirus news has made individual AAT members quite depressed. One Member, in particular, believes the COVID-19 outbreak is sufficient reason to refuse business applicants looking for permission to become sponsors under the RSMS program. They stated;

“The current situation with the COVID-19 (the coronavirus) is an external factor that will likely have a negative impact on the current and future viability of many Australian businesses”.

The AAT member didn’t stop there.

“In addition, there are concerns that the coronavirus will have a direct impact on the solar panel prices and production.”

The AAT kindly supplied a news article so we could be sure we knew what the coronavirus was. Of course, the sponsoring company happens to be in the solar panel supply and installation industry. They must respond to these claims; otherwise, they will be refused.

I mean, really. Shall we all help pack up the immigration department into mothballs and send their staff home now or perhaps it’s just better we all jump off the nearest cliff before this dreaded bug gets us? To demonstrate how out of step the AAT is with the rest of the vibrant, self-reliant, optimistic and ingenious Australian community, the government released a statement to encourage us all;

“Like other economies around the world, the Australian economy is already feeling the effects of the global Coronavirus outbreak…the economic shock is likely to be significant…The package is front-loaded in order to instill confidence in business and households and help firms keep people employed. This will ensure that the economy is in the best possible position to recover when the shock subsides”.

Now that’s more like it. Nothing like the encouraging words of good leadership from keeping us from going over the edge.

The owner of the Solar Panel Company, Sandeep felt shaken when he read this AAT request that he respond. He said;

“We are also very upset that this question has been asked considering that the Federal Government has been very clear in telling Australian businesses that they wanted to support us through this tough time and help us keep our employees. By asking us this question, we feel that the Tribunal is taking the opposite approach and may prevent us from being able to keep a hard-working, dedicated employee who has continued to prove themselves, and thus injure our business when we need this employee most.”

Now we all know these are tough times, but that doesn’t mean the government is halting all employer-sponsored visas. Perhaps this AAT member is feeling they are a glass half empty type of person at the moment due to the pandemic or maybe they are just using the crisis as an excuse to refuse applicants? We don’t know, but we have asked the Hon Justice David Thomas, President of the AAT, to explain this affront to all fair and just Australians.

What we do know, however, is there is no place for government-appointed people, in positions of authority, to use a public crisis unfairly in their decision-making process.  It is also particularly shameful to act in a manner which goes against government policy to support businesses at this time where we should be helping each other.

Keep safe everyone, above all, stay positive.