International movement records are records which the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) keep on all persons travelling into and out of Australia.
Section 489 of the Migration Act 1958 creates a database which contains information kept concerning to the entry and departure of people to and from Australia. Access to your own international movement records is available under section 488 of the Migration Act 1958 as well as the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
There are various systems in place to ensure quick and effective processing and screening of people travelling to and from Australia. This is through the DoHA, where the information is recorded and monitored in the international movement record.
International movement records and other critical information are governed by migration legislation and the Privacy Act 1988.
What are international movement records?
The international movement records are comprised in a database containing critical details of travellers going in and out of the country dating from 1981. The information contained in the movement records include the following information:
- Date of birth;
- Country of birth;
- Relationship status;
- Date of departure and/or arrival;
- Port code (if applicable);
- Visa subclass and expiry date;
- Flight or vessel details;
- Travel document number, such as the flight number; and
- Number of movements.
International movement records are entirely electronic these days. However, DoHA also keeps non-electronic travel information such as documentation of passenger cards from 1965 in microfilm, ship manifests from 1924 to 1964, and Aliens’ cards from 1947 to 1979.
Since this information is sensitive and highly confidential, stringent guidelines are enforced under section 488 of the Migration Act 1958 regarding access to and divulgence of such records. The Act dictates that the information can only be accessed by authorised officers. Furthermore, the legislation prescribes the purposes of which the records can be disclosed legally. Any infraction of this provision is punishable by two years’ imprisonment.
What are international movement records used for?
The main purpose of international movement records is to access information on the travel movements for your arrival and departure from Australia from 1981. You can monitor your travel history through the international movement records. The records will also determine your visa details, including your visa subclass and expiry date.
If you have lost your documents or unsure whether you have satisfied the residency requirements to be granted Australian citizenship, your international movement records can confirm your eligibility.
Your movement information can be disclosed to third parties if disclosure is required by law or if it is necessary for law enforcement. International movement records can be treated as disclosable information under a Request for access to documents or information (Form 424A). However, your own request for your international movement records is dealt with under the Migration Act 1958.
How can I request for a copy of my international movement records?
However classified, copies of your international movement records can be requested for lawful and legitimate purposes.
To request a copy, all you need to do is complete a Request for international movement records (Form 1359). You will need to include a certified copy of a photographic identity document such as a passport or drivers licence. For a document to be a certified copy, it should be stamped by an authorised person like a migration agent, a solicitor, a Justice of the Peace, or a Commonwealth Public Servant with at least five years of service.
Can another person request my international movement record?
If a different person, such as a migration agent or a solicitor, makes the request on your behalf a written authority should be supplied. Part C of the form is for these types of requests.
Completing Part C of the Form 1359 will let DoHA know to communicate with the nominated person regarding your request, and to deliver your documents to that address. If you are requesting a copy of records on behalf of someone else, you will need to present a written consent from that person.
Both parties will need to supply certified copies of their photographic identity. Also, if you are requesting international movement records which pre-date 1981, you may need to contact the National Archives of Australia.