The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Office) can investigate complaints about the immigration functions of the Department of Home Affairs.

We explore systemic issues that can arise from complaints. We also check the department’s compliance activities and inspect detention centres.

We have a statutory reporting function to report to the Minister for the Department of Home Affairs about people who have been detained for more than two years.

What we can help you with:

We can investigate complaints about the administrative actions taken by:

  • the Department of Home Affairs
  • Australian Border Force.

These may include:

For more information, click here to read our frequently asked questions

What we cannot help you with:

We cannot help with complaints about:

  • decisions made by the Minister for the Department of Home Affairs
  • the Government’s immigration policy
  • visa refusal decisions

When we receive a complaint, we will assess it to decide what action to take. We may decide not to investigate a complaint if:

  • the matter complained about is more than 12 months old
  • you have not yet complained to the department, or
  • there is no prospect of obtaining a remedy to the complaint.

We will tell you the outcome of our assessment of your complaint. We will explain the investigation process and what to do if you disagree with our decision.

Click here for more information about making a complaint to our Office.

Compliance monitoring

We monitor the Australian Border Force’s visa compliance activities involving:

  • locating
  • detaining
  • removing unlawful non-citizens.

We conduct these monitoring activities to ensure the department’s processes are lawful and operate under good administrative practice.

Immigration detention assessments

When a person has been in immigration detention for two years, and then every six months if they remain in immigration detention, the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs must give the Ombudsman a report about the circumstances of the person's detention.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has a statutory role under section 486O of the Migration Act 1958 to give the Minister for the Department of Home Affairs an assessment of the appropriateness of the arrangements for the person’s detention.

Click here to view Detention Review Assessments

Detention inspections

We conduct regular inspections of immigration detention centres under the Ombudsman's own motion powers. This is in accordance with our jurisdiction to consider the actions of agencies and their subcontractors.