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Changes to Public Interest Criteria 4020

Written By Will Aldous
Fri, Feb 14, 2014
Will Aldous

The Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020 applies to most visa types and failure to meet this criteria may not only lead to the refusal of a visa application but it will affect any future visa applications.

If an application is refused for failing to meet this criteria, the applicant will be subject to an exclusion period for 3 years, except in exceptional circumstances.

In March this year the Government intends to introduce an additional aspect to PIC 4020, requiring that the Minister must be satisfied as to the identity of the applicant. A decision to refuse to grant a visa on the grounds of identity would attract a 10 year exclusion period.

In it’s current form, an applicant will fail PIC 4020 if there is evidence that the applicant has given or caused to be given to the Minister, an officer, the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT), a relevant assessing authority or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth:

• a ‘bogus document’ or ‘information that is false or misleading in a material particular and

• that bogus document or information must be ‘in relation to’ the application for the visa, or a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.

If incorrect information has been provided, the case officer must make an assessment of whether the information is ‘false and misleading’ in a ‘material way’ and whether the information relates to the criteria the case officer will consider when processing the application.

If the incorrect information was clearly the result of typographical error this will not constitute “false and misleading information”.

The requirement not to provide a “bogus document” however extends to circumstances where the information provided in the documents is not relevant to the visa application and whether or not the document was provided by the applicant knowingly or unwittingly.

In a recent MRT case the applicant provided a false employment reference letter in relation to her Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) assessment.

Even though the applicant later applied for a second TRA assessment based on genuine references the Tribunal found that the mere submission of the first TRA assessment that did rely on a bogus work reference was sufficient to fail PIC 4020 whether or not that document actually affects the outcome of the visa application.

If a case officer suspects a document is bogus or that false and misleading information has been provided, they may, but are not required to, invite a person to provide additional information. If additional information is provided however the case officer is obliged to consider this additional information.

For more information, contact TSS Immigration, where a Registered Migration Agent and or Solicitor can provide advice on your specific situation.

TSS Immigration (03) 9421 1020


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