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Department of Home Affairs visa – 2017-18 to 2025-26 data-matching program protocol

This protocol contains information on the Department of Home Affairs visa data-matching program.

Last updated 15 October 2023

Visa data-matching program
Find out about the purpose and objectives of this program.

Visa data
About visa data and what we do with the data we collect under the program.

Notifying the public of the data-matching program
Find out how we notify the public about this program.

Our lawful role
Find out what our legislated functions are.

Why we undertake data-matching
Learn why we have data-matching protocols and the costs and benefits of data matching.

How we undertake data-matching
Find out about the systems and processes we use in data-matching activities.

Data quality
Learn about our quality assurance processes and how we assure data is fit for use.

Visa data-matching program

Find out about the purpose and objectives of this program.

Program objectives

Our data-matching programs help us fulfil our responsibility to protect public revenue and maintain community confidence in the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems.

The objectives of the visa data-matching program are to:

  • help ensure that individuals and businesses are fulfilling their tax and super reporting obligations
  • promote voluntary compliance by communicating how we use external data to help encourage taxpayers to comply with their tax and super obligations and to increase community confidence in the integrity of these systems
  • continue to refine our understanding of the tax and super risks across visa holders, visa sponsors and migration agents
  • develop and implement treatment strategies to improve voluntary compliance, which may include educational or compliance activities as appropriate
  • help ensure visa populations fulfil their registration, lodgment, correct reporting and payment of tax and super obligations
  • test the accuracy and strengths in our risk detection models and treatment systems and practices and identify areas for improvement
  • identify potentially new or emergent approaches to fraud and those entities controlling or exploiting the visa framework
  • improve the integrity of the tax and super systems by cancelling ABNs of ineligible ABN holders
  • support compliance activities under Australia's foreign investment rules.

Why we look at this data

Travellers coming to Australia for travel, work, study or migration need a visa appropriate for their reason for travel. Visa conditions for foreign and temporary residents apply to a person’s stay in Australia, including engagement with the tax and super systems.

The visa data-matching program will allow us to identify and address a number of tax risks including:

  • helping process tax file number (TFN) registration for visa holders entering the country including tailored advice for TFN applicants' employers
  • ensuring appropriate tax treatment is being applied by employers of visa holders including registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding, fringe benefits tax and super guarantee
  • determining if applicants departing Australia are entitled to access superannuation
  • identifying taxpayers who incorrectly claim Australian residency in their income tax returns for financial gain
  • identifying incorrect tax refunds through pre-issue compliance work
  • identifying and cancelling Australian business numbers (ABNs) obtained and used inappropriately by visa holders as contractors, when they should be classified as employees
  • assessing ABN eligibility    
    • determining if a visa holder's visa class allows them to hold an ABN
    • determining if an ABN should be cancelled if the ABN holder is no longer in the country
  • supporting Foreign Investment Program compliance activities including
    • identifying people who are no longer foreign persons according to Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and using this data to update the Foreign Ownership of Land and Water Entitlements register
    • identifying the foreign person status of property holders in Australia regarding residential, commercial and agricultural land
    • identifying temporary residents holding multiple established dwellings and temporary residents renting out an established dwelling
    • monitoring temporary residents holding established dwellings to ensure disposal of their interest is within relevant timeframes
    • ascertaining whether a foreign person has been onshore for 183 days or more to confirm their residentially occupied statement in their lodged vacancy fee returns.

For more information on tax requirements for visa holders, see: