Department’s update on VACCU

Published on May 13, 2024

What is VACCU

The Visa Applicant Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) is responsible for evaluating the character of visa applicants. Unfortunately, we’re unable to share screenshots due to copyright restrictions. However, you can review the VACCU form through the provided link: the VACCU form

In this article, we’ll explore the recent updates from MIA regarding the VACCU.


Recent Insights from MIA

Kris Ahn Lawyers is an active member of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), Australia’s largest association for migration advocates.

7 May 2024 – we received information from MIA about cases currently referred to the VACCU of the Department of Home Affairs.

Relevant information extracted:

VACCU Update

VACCU continues to work on business improvement to reduce the processing time and to address the over referral of non-violent and low level offending visa applicants. To end of March 2024, there has been a 30% increase in finalisations on the same period in the last year, although VACCU is continuing to see an increase in referred cases overall as a result of higher post COVID application numbers.

Since the identification of the new lowered threshold in mid September 2023, there has been an 18% reduction in the caseload. There are currently 3500 cases on hand, with 75% of aged case assessment times dropping from 26 months to 16 months.

A complete review of the immigration character program is being undertaken for the first time in a decade, which includes the operation of VACCU and examining the spectrum of risk across the program. It is expected to take up to 18 months to complete and further updates will be provided.

The first highlighted phrase, “over referral” used by the Department, indicates that they are acknowledging their case officers unnecessarily pushing some cases to the VACCU team. However, it is our observation and experience that irrespective of how non-violent or low level the offence was, once it goes to the VACCU team, it generally will not be ‘released’ once it’s assessed.

Again, this information is general, but it does give indications as to VACCU’s official average processing time, which was never really released before.

For Clients of Kris Ahn Lawyers

If you are already clients of Kris Ahn Lawyers, we will continue to monitor your case and contact you every now and then to advise you about your case.

We may ask for more information or updated documents to ensure that your case stays relevant and fresh.

But please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Advice and Tips

We know that the average is only an average, and even if your case takes longer than what they have stated above, your only option is to wait – calling or emailing or even lodging a complaint has not worked.

The only advice/ tip that we can provide is to continue to ‘update’ your case.

The VACCU team must consider all documents and information that you provide them.

We also strongly recommend that you carefully study Ministerial Directions 99 to see for yourself what the VACCU team will consider when assessing your case.

ministerial-direction-99.pdf (

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

The information provided in this blog post/article is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create a representative-client relationship. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the content may not reflect the most current legal developments or specific circumstances.

Do not rely solely on the information presented here – but please book in a consultation with us to see how you this information applies to you and may benefit you. Any reliance on the material in this post is at your own risk.

Remember Australian immigration law is considered most complex laws in Australia. Seek professional legal advice tailored to your individual needs before making any decisions based on the content of this post.