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CHARACTER TEST

Why are character checks required to enter/stay in Australia?

People who want to either migrate to Australia or stay temporarily on working and tourist visas, must not be of character concern. Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 includes a character test to ensure that visa applicants, people seeking to migrate to Australia and visa holders are of acceptable character.

The test puts the onus on visa applicants, and visa holders already in Australia, to prove that they are of good character. The provision also contains discretionary powers to either refuse or cancel visas when issues of character arise.

Some examples of when a person will fail the character test include:

  • when the person has a substantial criminal record,
    •  
      • sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more, or
      • sentenced to either death or life imprisonment, or
      • sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment (whether on one or more occasions), where the total of those terms is two years or more, or
      • acquitted of an offence on the grounds of either unsoundness of mind or insanity and, as a result, the person has been detained in a facility or institution;
  • when the person either has, or has had, an association with an individual, group or organisation suspected of having been, or being, involved in criminal conduct,
  • when there is a significant risk that the person will engage in criminal conduct in Australia, harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia, vilify a segment of the Australian community, or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community,
  • when, having regard to the person's past and present criminal conduct, the person is found not to be of good character, and
  • when having regard to the person's past and present general conduct, the person is found to be not of good character.

A person whose visa is cancelled on the grounds of either a substantial criminal record, or past and present criminal conduct, is permanently excluded from Australia.

How do I have apply?

Simply send your application to the Australian Federal Police including some type of identification (i.e: the biodata page of your passport, your driver's licence) and include a bank cheque or money order and an envelope with your name, address and with the relavent postage.

You must apply for a police clearance for each country you have resided in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years.

What do I do if I have criminal convictions?

Declare all convictions on the application form. Failure to declare information may result in the cancellation of your visa. Visa cancellation can mean detention and removal from Australia. A person, whose visa is cancelled on the grounds of either a substantial criminal record, or past and present criminal conduct, is permanently excluded from Australia.

Should I declare very old convictions?

Declare all convictions on the application form. Failure to declare information may result in the cancellation of your visa. A person whose visa is cancelled on the grounds of either a substantial criminal record, or past and present criminal conduct, is permanently excluded from Australia.

2013