Can you satisfy the CHARACTER TEST? If you can’t, you may not be able to get an Australian visa. If you already hold a visa, it may be cancelled.
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER TEST?
In most cases, it’s about your criminal history. The Immigration Department tries to determine if you will cause trouble in Australia. They assess your past offenses.
SUBSTANTIAL CRIMINAL HISTORY
In many cases, the issue is that the visa applicant has previously been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more. This means you have a SUBSTANTIAL CRIMINAL HISTORY. A person with a substantial criminal history doesn’t pass the character test.
Substantial criminal history isn’t the only thing that matters. For example, if you have any offending history, the Immigration Department can consider that there is a RISK that you will commit crimes in Australia. This is a very broad power. It’s enough if the Immigration Department can show that the RISK is more than minimal.
The Immigration Department can also look at your general conduct. Based on your general conduct, they can say you are not a good character. For example, if you have a history of traffic violations, these may not amount to criminal conduct (depending on the circumstances). But in Australia, they take traffic rule violations seriously. If you repeatedly break traffic rules, you may be at a risk that you will be considered someone who is not of good character.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
What you do depends on precisely where you are at in the visa cancellation process. Have they already cancelled, or are they just considering cancellation?
#1 NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CONSIDER CANCELLATION
In many (but not all) cases, the first step is that Immigration will send you a letter called “Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation” of your visa. In this letter they will explain why they want to cancel your visa. Read this letter, and respond within the time frame provided. Ideally, you should hire a lawyer to respond for you. This is an excellent opportunity to put forward your position and prevent visa cancellation.
#2 IF THE VISA HAS BEEN CANCELLED – MERITS REVIEW
If your visa has been cancelled, you can apply for merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. TIME LIMITS APPLY!!!
WHAT IS YOUR ARGUMENT?
This depends. If you have proof that you have undergone rehabilitation and you are a changed person, then you should highlight this. If you have family in Australia (particularly Australian citizen children), then you need to point out that it’s in their best interest that you stay. If you need help developing your argument, contact us.
ABOUT DENES LAWYERS
Oszkar Denes, principal lawyer of Denes Lawyers is based in Australia. If you have any questions about Australian immigration law, contact us and we will happy to consider your case.