Lying on a Visa Application – Even After Grant There Can be Problems

Lying on a Visa Application – Even After Grant There Can be Problems

Your visa has finally been granted. Or better yet, you have finally gained Australian citizenship. This however, does not mean that the days of liaising with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) are finally over. This is especially true if your original visa application was fraudulent or misleading.

When proceeding with a visa application, acting with total honesty and integrity is important. If you are applying for an Australian visa you will need to satisfy Public Interest Criterion 4020. You and your visa application will be affected by PIC 4020 if:

  • You have provided (or previously provided) a bogus document or information that is false or misleading
  • Or if the DIBP is not satisfied over your identity in your visa application

These accusations can be regarding e.g. birth certificate, your criminal or health history, your skill assessment, your employer’s information, your work experience and/or your education qualifications to name a few.

If the DIBP picks up on the falsity during processing…

You will be given a chance to respond to the allegations, if your response is not deemed acceptable your visa application will be refused and you will be subject to a 3-year ban (or a 10-year ban if you lie about your identity) on future visa applications.

If you have a visa refused due to 4020….

For an onshore application you will also be subject to s48 where only in limited circumstances can further applications be made onshore. You may be able to appeal the decision at the AAT or High Court…

You may be able to have this waved for future applications, however, in order to do so, you must provide reasons of compelling circumstances affecting Australia. Some common examples of considerable reasons include (and are not limited to): minor children being adversely affected by the decision, whether there are significant health or welfare issues or continued separation of immediate family members.


If the DIBP fails to pick up on the falsity at first instance…

This should be no reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Dishonesty on one occasion to the DIBP will not be overlooked. When seeking future actions in immigration and visa matters, the Department is required to take into account your past incredibility.

Dishonesty on multiple occasions will be viewed more harshly. In the worst case scenario, any immigration benefits that you have obtained can be formally revoked. This includes the Australian Citizenship. In regards to any Australian visas that you currently hold, these can also be revoked if your conduct fails to satisfy the ‘character test’ pursuant to the Migration Act1958.

In a recent AAT decision Eidson and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Citizenship) (2017) AATA 1354 (23 August 2017), an applicant by the name of Sharon had been granted various visitor visas over the years, finally being granted citizenship in 1999. However, this citizenship application was then cancelled 12 years later after her long history of fraudulent declarations about her identity came to light. The Tribunal concluded in their judgment that the misrepresentation of her identity was enough grounds to affirm the revocation of her citizenship, especially considering that the lying was not an isolated incident. She could have come forward at any point to ‘set the record straight’.

In practice, these falsities eventually surface as a result of a simple telephone call to references or finding a mere difference in information between submitted documents (e.g. resumes and reference letters). The DIBP is less concerned about the contents of the lie, but rather the act of lying itself. Therefore, it is advised that all relevant information and convictions are disclosed at the very beginning of relations with the Department if you would like to avoid serious consequences.

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