Public Interest Criterion 4020 (‘PIC 4020’) is part of the criteria you will need to satisfy if you have applied (or thinking of applying) for one of the following Australian visas:
- Skilled Migration visas
- Business visas
- Temporary visas
- Student visas
- Family related visas
The intention of PIC 4020 is to reinforce the Australian migration system and discourage visa applicants from submitting bogus (fake) or misleading information or committing identity fraud.
You will be affected by PIC 4020 if you have provided a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in your visa application (or previous visa applications) (PIC 4020(1)). You will also be affected by PIC 4020 if the Minister for Immigration (DIBP) is not satisfied over your identity in your visa application (PIC 4020(2A)). If you fail either of the abovementioned criteria, then your visa may be refused and depending on the reasons for refusal, you may also be subject to a 3 or 10 year ban on further visa applications that contain PIC 4020.
Bogus Document or False or Misleading Information
Your visa application may be refused if you or anyone else included in your application has:
- provided a bogus document or information that is false or misleading as part of your current visa application; or
- previously provided a bogus document that is false or misleading in relation to a visa that you held in the 12 months before making your application.
It is important to note the case officer can look at previously lodged visa applications in the past (with regards to visas you held within the last 12 months) and in the event that there were previously submitted bogus documents or false or misleading information, it may be grounds to refuse your current visa application. The bogus documents or false or misleading information can include (but not limited to) your birth certificate, your criminal or health history, your skills assessment, your employer’s information, your work experience, your English test results and your education qualifications.
Importantly, the bogus document or misleading information must be false or misleading in a material particular, meaning that it should relate to the visa criteria which you are being assessed under for the DIBP to refuse the application under 4020.. Importantly, if the document or misleading information provided is not related to the visa criteria, there may be grounds to argue that you do not fail PIC4020.
If you fail to meet this PIC 4020 requirement, your visa may be refused and you will be prevented from being granted further visas for three (3) years, on visas that include PIC 4020 as part of the criteria.
Can I get this requirement waived?
If your visa is refused due to a bogus document or false or misleading information, you may seek to have this requirement waived. However, in order to do this, you must provide reasons why the visa should be granted based on the one of the following:
- compelling circumstances affecting Australia; or
- compelling or compassionate reasons affecting an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Common examples of compelling and compassionate reasons
The Department Procedures and Advice Manual (PAM) contains guidance on some of the reasons where this PIC 4020 may be waived. This includes:
- minor children who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen residing in Australia who would be adversely affected by the decision not to waive this requirement;
- whether there are any significant health or welfare issues affecting an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen residing in Australia;
- continued separation of immediate family members, due to the inability of affected Australians residing in the applicant’s home country because of war or Australia’s protection obligations;
- the nature and extent of the fraud (such as the amount of misleading information and any history of attempting fraud against Australia’s migration program).
It is also important to note that when seeking to waive this requirement, the interests of the applicant are not relevant when addressing the compelling or compassionate circumstances, and it only affects Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens residing in Australia.
Failing to Satisfy the Identity Requirement
If the DIBP are not satisfied over your identity then your visa may be refused. This includes evidence of identity relating to:
- your biographical information such as name and date of birth;
- identity information contained in your visa application; and
- biometric evidence concerning your physical attributes, facial images and fingerprints.
This PIC 4020 provision applies to visa applications lodged on or after 22 March 2014, and all visa applications made, but not finally determined before 22 March 2014.
If DIBP suspects that you (or any other person included in the application) are not the person you are claiming to be or have changed some aspects of your identity in the visa application, then they may refuse your visa application.
If your visa is refused under this PIC 4020 requirement, it is because you did not satisfy DIBP of your identity, then you may be prevented from a further visa grant for ten (10) years, on visas that include PIC 4020 as part of the criteria.
Can I get this requirement waived?
If you are affected by this PIC 4020 identity provision then there is NO waiver available, or for the 10-year non-grant period. You will be offered to comment and a chance to reply (natural justice) before the visa is refused, however if you are unable to satisfy DIBP as to your identity then your application will be refused, and no waiver will be accepted.
Examples of Failing to Satisfy the Identity Requirement
You have lodged a skilled independent visa (subclass 189) with documents that appear to be genuine. You provided your date of birth, indicating that you are 31 years of age in your skills assessment and visa application. In fact, you are 33 years of age, and your intent was to score enough skill points to be eligible for the skilled visa. The case officer discovers that you have lied about your age, and then forms the opinion that you have provided false information about your identity. The case officer may then refuse your visa application and you may then be subject to a ten (10) year ban on further visa grants, because you have failed to satisfy the identity requirement in PIC 4020(2A).
You have provided a ‘bogus document’ or ‘information that is false or misleading’ in relation to your identity, such as your brothers passport, instead of your own, because you did not have a valid one at the time of the application. Your intent was to submit your new passport once it was ready. However, when the case officer discovers this identity issue, they give you the chance to comment on the document, and you admit to providing your brother’s passport. You provide the real passport to the case officer, and they may be satisfied with the identity requirement (PIC 4020(2A)), however, you would still fail to meet PIC 4020(1), by providing a bogus document or information that is false or misleading. Consequently, you could be prevented from being granted further visas for three (3) years, on visas that include PIC 4020 as part of the criteria.
If you have been affected by PIC 4020 please feel free to in get in contact on 1300 644 788 or leave your questions here.
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