Character Test

Character Test


An update in a new Blog post will follow in coming weeks

All people holding and applying for visas and citizenship in Australia must be of good character and must pass the Character Test.

If Immigration assesses that you do not pass the character test, then your visa may be refused or cancelled.

If your visa or citizenship application is refused or cancelled because you do not pass the character test, then you are in very serious trouble and you might find yourself on your way back to your country of passport very soon.

What is the Character Test?

The Immigration website provides the following information;

You will not pass the character test if:

– you have a substantial criminal record, meaning you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or multiple sentences that add up to more than 24 months in prison. A suspended sentence is considered a prison sentence.
– you have been convicted of any offence that was committed while in immigration detention, during an escape from immigration detention, during a period where you escaped from immigration detention, or if you have been convicted of the offence of escaping from immigration detention
– you have, or have had, an association with an individual, group or organisation suspected of having been, or being, involved in criminal conduct
– having regard to your past and present criminal conduct, you are found not to be of good character
– having regard to your past and present general conduct, you are found not to be of good character
– there is a significant risk that you will engage in criminal conduct in Australia; or harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia; or vilify a segment of the Australian community; or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community; or represent a danger to the Australian community or to a segment of that community.

The first two points are easy to measure and Immigration simply adds up the number of days a person is sentenced to prison, or checks if a conviction of the type described in the second point has occurred. This information appears on the police checks provided to Immigration.

The other four points involve an assessment by the case officer who will rely on directions from the Minister and the policy manual when making a decision.

Stricter Assessments Result in More People Failing the Character Test

Recent experience shows that Immigration is applying the Character Test more strictly and more people are failing the Character Test than in the past.

As a result, many more people are being refused visa and citizenship applications or having their existing visas cancelled, sometimes for minor matters that did not cause problems in the past.

How to avoid refusal or cancellation for failing the Character Test?

Obviously, the safest policy is to avoid any police or criminal history, however no-one can undo the past.

If you have a police /criminal history of any kind and you plan to apply for visas or citizenship, then careful planning and preparation with proper representation is needed.

Is a Waiver Possible?

The Minister published specific instructions about who can access waivers when people fail the Character Test and in what types of circumstances.

To access a waiver, you will usually need a substantial written submission putting your case to the assessing officer in the best light possible.

If you have a police arrest / criminal history of any type in any country, and you are applying for a visa for Australia or citizenship in Australia, then Career Up can assist you present your case in your application in the best possible way.

If you have been invited to comment on adverse information that might cause you to fail the Character Test, contact Career Up immediately so we can assist you respond to Immigration appropriately & on time to put forward your case in the best possible way.

If your visa was refused or cancelled for failing the Character Test, contact Career Up as soon as you can to access whatever appeal rights you have.

Time limits for providing comments and lodging appeals are strict and cannot be extended in many cases, so do not delay!

George Pearse
MARN 0425396

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Please note this blog post is not legal advice or visa advice.

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