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Bogus Documents or False Information and the Character Test

Providing bogus documents, or false or misleading information to the Immigration Department could lead to serious consequences. Did you know that even making false declaration on your incoming passenger cards when entering Australia could lead to an enquiry by the Immigration Department during your subsequent visa applications?

The Immigration Department might refuse to grant you a visa on character grounds, and place you on a non-grant period, in which you will not be granted a visa for a period of 3 years if you have a visa application refused due to providing bogus documents or information that is false and misleading. Please note that previous criminal history may also lead to the Immigration Department to launch an assessment on character grounds when considering a visa application.
The requirement to provide accurate and truthful information and documents is a common criterion across various visa types, including:

  • Skilled migration visas;

  • Business visas;

  • Temporary visas;

  • Student visas; and

  • Family visas.

Visa requirements relating to bogus documents and false or misleading information could be waived when a grant of a visa could be justified because of:

  • Visa requirements relating to bogus documents and false or misleading information could be waived when a grant of a visa could be justified because of:
  • Compassionate or compelling circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen that justify the granting of the visa.

Please kindly note that compelling or compassionate circumstances should already exist, rather than being related to something that might happen in the future.

The “Character Test”
The Immigration Department applies the “Character Test” when making a character assessment, which consists of a number of grounds to consider. A visa applicant need only be found to not pass one ground in order to not pass the Character Test. The grounds cover conduct that might not involve criminal behaviour, but nonetheless shows that the person is not of good character (e.g. giving false information).
Here are a couple of examples in how a ground would be given consideration by the Immigration Department:

  • Past and present criminal conduct: In considering whether a visa applicant is not of good character on the basis of past or present criminal conduct, the following factors are to be considered – the nature and severity of the criminal conduct; the frequency of the visa applicant’s offending and whether there is any trend of increasing seriousness; and the conduct of the visa applicant since the most recent offence (i.e. any conduct which may indicate character reform).

  • Best interests of the child: The following factors would be considered where relevant – the nature and duration of the relationship between the child and the visa applicant; the extent to which the visa applicant is likely to play a positive parental role in the future; the impact of the visa applicant’s prior conduct, and any likely future conduct, and whether that conduct has or will have a negative impact on the child; and the likely effect that any separation from the visa applicant would have on the child.

Migration law is strict, so even unintentional wrongdoings or giving of bogus documents/false information could be taken as failing visa requirements. However, visa applicants are given chances to comment on the Immigration Department’s bogus documents/false information or character test enquiries. If you receive a Notice of Intention to Consider Refusal from the Immigration Department on these grounds, please contact our office for advice on how we may assist you.

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