NSO aka National Statistics Office and Document Problems
Every Australian Partner Visa application from Philippines means dealings with the NSO, ie. National Statistics Office. This is officially known as the Philippines Statistics Authority or PSA, but never heard anybody using this term. So we will stick to NSO for simplicity and familiarity. This is the central office where data on births, deaths and marriages is kept. Much like the…..well…Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia. The difference is that rather than the Aussie version of keeping only state records, this is national. If someone gets born, married or dies, the records end up in the one place in Quezon City, Manila.
Why does an Australia visa application need NSO documents?
Every partner visa application requires records of births, current marriages and previous marriages. And if a married lady is a widow, they will need proof of this too of course. And that means applications to the NSO to get this information for the partner visa application. They need to know if the applicant is who they say they are. They also need to know if a marriage actually happened, if a widow is genuinely a widow and therefore free to marry again, and for both wives and fiancées they need to know if by chance she’s still married to someone else. Yes, it happens!
Therefore a significant part of the visa “requirements” is going to be documents from the NSO. A lot depends on what these documents say, and therein lies the issue! Sometimes people feel the need to chance what NSO documents say because of the significance of this information and how it can stand in the way of peoples’ plans.
NSO documents – Mistakes and Fraud aka Bogus Documents
I would say that 1 in 10 NSO documents received and vigorously checked by Down Under Visa has some wrong information. Yes, as much as all that. Sometimes it’s just careless mistakes, and other times it’s intentional. Mostly careless, but sometimes the borderline is hazy!
Careless mistakes are: Jenny becomes Jeny, Rodriguez becomes Rodrigues, Molino becomes Moleno. Genders get mixed up, dates of birth are wrong, or a marriage in Malate gets put down as Makati.
Sometimes the clerk in the City Hall (the section in City Hall is known as the Local Civil Registrar) writes the information down wrong. Maybe an “e” looks like an “o” because it was typed on a sad and ancient typewriter. Or the Auntie who does the paperwork doesn’t know the right spelling or date of birth, and thinks it doesn’t matter very much. But sometimes it’s done intentionally because there is some fraud going on.
Deliberate mistakes or just plain fraud
Sometimes children are unofficially “adopted”, and a child is registered again with a slightly different name spelling, different date of birth and of course different parents. Or sometimes an earlier mistake was made and someone covers it up by registering a birth again. End result is two very similar birth certificates in the system for the wrong person.
Or you may find a child has been registered as having married parents when they were not married at all, in order to save some embarrassment and shame. Or you get a chivalrous gentleman decides to “give the child his name” when he had never even met the mum at time of conception. All of these are serious matters, and are not so easily corrected.
Are Down Under Visa the Bad Guys?
Honestly, you would think so sometimes. We dread finding these mistakes in NSO documents. We really do. It means not only we know that there will be extra work for our clients, it also means that some will shoot the messenger. Sometimes it happens several times in a week where someone chooses to lash out at us, and it’s not fun.
I’ll explain about correcting documents in the next article. But for now, please understand that an official document containing wrong information is a bogus document, and that whilst you will hate hearing the news, if Down Under Visa weren’t so fastidious in discovering the error then it would have meant a bogus document went through to the Embassy. And bogus documents are migration suicide! Visa refusal and a three year ban from lodging another visa application. And if you have this problem, then Down Under Visa are now the best friends you have!