An initiative which allows for more efficient collaboration between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has seen the Commissioner for Taxation issue a Notice of a Data Matching Program for visa holders. This will allow the ATO to acquire from the DIBP, personal and other details of Australian visa holders, their sponsors, and their migration agents for the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years. Information will be collected from approximately 1 million visa holders, and will include:

  • Address and contact history for visa holders and their sponsors
  • Visa grant details and status
  • Address and contact history for migration agents
  • All international travel undertaken by visa holders
  • Sponsor details
  • Education provider details and information

The ATO has outlined its objectives for the initiative, and they include the following:

  • Assist in developing and implementing administrative strategies to improve voluntary compliance by visa holders, sponsors and migration agents
  • Improve knowledge of the overall level of compliance with taxation obligations by visa holders, sponsors and migration agents
  • Test the veracity and strengths of existing risk detection models and treatment systems and identify areas for improvement in the ATO’s suite of compliance models and treatment systems and practices
  • Improve the integrity of the Tax and Superannuation system by cancelling ineligible ABN registrants
  • Identify potentially new or widespread fraud methodologies and those entities controlling or exploiting those methodologies
  • Ensure compliance with registration, lodgement, correct reporting and payment of taxation and superannuation obligations

This initiative is in line with the changes made to the 457 programme, and is designed to improve the integrity of the visa programme and compliance.