Key terms: Public Interest Criterion – 4020 – False or misleading information – Bogus documents – Visa cancellation – Visa refusal
The Legislative Instrument which introduced the change has been disallowed on 5 December 2017. This means that all future applications will be subject to 12 months' of consideration for PIC4020.
Applications which were lodged between 18 November 2017 to 4 December 2017 will be subject to the 10 years' consideration.
Conditions targeting fraudulent or misleading information in visa applications made much tougher – PIC 4020 soon to cover last 10 years
Section 4020 is currently targeting bogus documents or information that is false and misleading provided to the Australian Government in the last 12 months prior to an application.
The changes will extend the time to documents and information provided in the last 10 years.
Here is a description of the changes:
PIC 4020 (1)(b) which relates to bogus documents, has been amended to broaden the powers to refuse a visa on the basis of bogus or fraudulent documents submitted in relation to visa applications:
- In the previous 10 years, rather than the previous 12 months; and
- In relation to previous visa applications, as well as visas previously granted
Here is the part 4020 as which apply up until 18 November 2017.
(1) There is no evidence before the Minister that the applicant has given, or caused to be given, to the Minister, an officer, the Tribunal during the review of a Part 5-reviewable decision, a relevant assessing authority or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to:
(a) the application for the visa; or
(b) a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.
Please note that these amendments will apply from 18 November 2017.
Comments by Chris Johnston:
This change is very significant, because it increases the time period for which DIBP can look for false documents or misleading information from one year prior to application to ten years.
This means that there will be a larger range of documents for DIBP Officers to consider in relation to bogus documents and misleading information. This includes visa application forms, documents submitted, passenger arrival and departure cards, as well as potentially information from other Australian Government departments.
Practical effects of this section will include:
- Greater workload on DIBP officers, in terms of documents to search prior to making a decision.
- More decisions will be refused due to PIC 4020.
- It will be advisable for visa applicants that have previously applied for an Australian visa to do a Freedom of Information application prior to applying for visas. The applicants will then need to check what information they have previously supplied to DIBP, prior to lodging an application.
- There will be more appeals based on visa refusals due to PIC 4020.
- The workload of FOI, DIBP and AAT is likely to increase.
Visa applicants will need to be very careful to avoid accidentally providing inconsistent information, due to not being able to remember or having kept good records over the last 10 years. Inconsistent information can be interpreted as providing false or misleading information to the Australian Government.
If you were previously questioned or refused a visa application on PIC 4020 grounds, it may become a character consideration to cancel an approved Australian visa you hold currently, or in the future.
Migration Regulations 1994
This information is accurate on 6 November 2017.
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