Ne Obliviscaris Wins Visa Battle

Faceless mandarins reverse decision...

Melbourne, Australia's Ne Obliviscaris have been doing it tough for the past year after having their lead guitarist's (Benjamin Baret, a native of France) Australian visa denied and him consequently being stuck in France for the past past 13 months whilst the band awaited the outcome of their appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal in Australia. This news story captured a lot of people's attention at the time due to the Australian Department of Immigration's ridiculous initial ruling that only a metal musician who had "collaborated with Iron Maiden, Metallica or Disturbed" could be counted as having an "international reputation" required for the "Distinguished Talent" visa Benjamin had applied for. Convinced the ruling was unreasonable, the band took their cause to the public appealing for people to sign their petition, write letters and spread the word about this grave injustice.

More than 3000 people from over 60 countries signed the petition, and dozens of bands, labels and media from across the world wrote letters to the Australian Migration Review Tribunal in support of their cause.

A year later, and amazingly the band has won their appeal, the original decision has been overturned and Benjamin Baret has been granted a new long term Australian visa! In what is a fantastic example of the benefits of refusing to go down without a fight, a band on the verge of falling apart is now back in full force with Benjamin on his way back to Australia, and Ne Obliviscaris' highly anticipated debut album Portal Of I set for release in early 2012.

The band recently released a new 11 /1/2 minute epic And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope taken from Portal Of I and available via their Facebook & Bandcamp pages. With close to 10,000 plays in its first week online and widespread acclaim for this first piece of new material from the band in 4 1/2 years, it's looking like the bands luck might be finally turning around heading into 2012.

Some comments on their visa win from lead guitarist, Benjamin Baret, and the rest of Ne Obliviscaris are below:


"Hello to everyone,
It has been a long hard road but we are finally there! After initially having my Distinguished Talent visa denied in 2010, and having gone through an epic appeal process in the past year, now, thanks to EVERYONE'S hard work, the decision has been overturned and I am coming back to Australia! I would like to thank my bandmates for all their support and Tim in particular for being my visa representative in Australia while I have been in Europe the past 13 months. Thanks brothers. I also want to thank all the people who wrote letters of recommendation, signed the petition, shared links or anything that helped us. It means the world to me. Finally, thank you to the Australian Department of Immigration for allowing me to come back to live in Australia!

Now I can finally get back to the only thing I truly love: making good music with good people." – Benjamin Baret


“The last year has been incredibly difficult for this band. With Benjamin stuck in France for the past 13 months we haven’t felt like ourselves, as we’ve been missing a heart and soul member of what makes this band what it is. As a result there have definitely been times where many a dark thought has entered our heads about the future of Ne Obliviscaris. But with our victory at the Migration Review Tribunal and the subsequent approval of Benjamin’s visa, it’s like all our Christmas’ have come at once. Add to that the out of this world response to our new song released last Saturday, and finally things are starting to look positive in the world of Ne Obliviscaris! From the moment Benjamin joined this band in 2008 we fell instantly in love with him as a person and as a musician, and so to have him on his way back to Australia is absolutely incredible.

A HUGE thank-you to everyone that in any way supported our battle to get Benjamin back to Australia. We couldn’t have done it without you! At the time we launched our appeal we heard a lot about how small our chances were of taking on the Australian Department of Immigration and winning, but we refused to accept defeat as Benjamin is just way too important to this band for us to go down without a fight. The endless support from our fans, who signed our petition in their thousands (from more than 60 countries across the world!) is a huge reason why we won this appeal and we will be forever grateful to every person that helped make this happen.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out our new song, And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope, you can do so now on our Facebook page, and we look forward to seeing you all on tour in 2012 on the back of the release of our long, long coming debut album Portal Of I! – NeO”