Stronger measures to crack down on identity fraud have recently come into force in Australia’s immigration system.
From 22 March 2014, penalties under the so called Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020 were increased from 3 years to 10 years. Applicants will not be able to make application for an Australian visa with PIC 4020 requirement for 10 years if there were found to have provided false information about their identity.
This restriction will also apply to individuals found to have committed identity fraud when applying for a visa previously when they are included as secondary applicants on a visa application.
The one-fails-all-fails principle will thus apply so it is essential that members of the same family unit making combined applications for a visa were not previously found to have committed identity fraud. If so, the entire family unit will be barred from making application.
The 10 year ban applies only to refusals made under the new identity requirements, not to refusals made under pre-March 22 regulations.
The 10 year period operates concurrently and not cumulatively, so that persons banned under former arrangements (3 years) will be facing 3 and 10 year bans concurrently.
As a further sign of the government’s intent to crack down on identity fraud in Australia’s visa and immigration system, the power of the Minister to waive the restrictions (either for compelling or compassionate reasons) have now been removed. The Minister will no longer have the power to waive the restrictions.
The purpose of the new arrangement is to strengthen the integrity of the migration program and deter identity fraud by introducing strict consequences where a visa application is refused because the applicant, or a member of their family unit, knowingly attempted to gain entry to Australia with fake identification.
WARNING: If you have made application for Australian visa with PIC 4020 requirement but that application has not been finally determined, and you believe you may be at risk of PIC 4020 10 year ban on reapplying for another visa, you will need to submit a correction of information form to the Department.