Can I apply for an Australian Visa if I have a Criminal Record?

Australia is a country in which 26% of its population was born abroad, as it has always been a place highly sought after by immigrants to try a new opportunity in life, outside their native country, despite the high number of immigrants in the country, migrating to Australia. Australia can sometimes be complicated, due to the time it takes to apply, the requirements that must be met and the implications of your past, such as criminal records.

Before we start talking about visa requirements and what you should do, we must define the concept of the following terms, criminal offense, criminal conviction, and criminal record. If you break the law, you could be charged with a crime and taken to court. If the court finds you guilty, it means you could have a criminal conviction, resulting in a record on your criminal record.

There are times when the court may find you guilty but not have a criminal conviction on your record. Furthermore, you may have a previous criminal conviction that no longer appears on your criminal record. This happens when the conviction you received has already been served. It is extremely important to understand these terms to know whether you have a criminal record or not.

Character test
The character test is one of the requirements that must be met when applying for a visa to Australia. If you intend to apply for a work visa, tourist visa or even move permanently, you must show the Department of Home Affairs that you are a person of good character and have passed the test.
If you fail the character test, the consequences can be very harsh, such as cancellation of the visa application as well as the applicant’s current visa.
See below a set of criteria that you can find in migration law that will determine whether you will fail or pass the character test, for example, you will not pass the character test if:

-You have a substantial criminal record;

-You committed an offence concerning your time in immigration detention;

-The Minister reasonably suspects that you are a member of an organisation that has been or is involved in criminal conduct;

-The Minister reasonably suspects that you have been involved in serious crimes such as people smuggling or trafficking, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, slavery or any other crime that is of serious international concern;

-You intend to harass, molest, intimidate or stalk people in Australia;

-You represent a danger or risk to any group of the Australian community; or

-Organisations such as ASIO and Interpol have found you to be a risk to the Australian or international community.

What is a Substantial Criminal Record?
A substantial crime has more severe penalties, if you have been sentenced to death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more, you may have a record on your record that is considered substantial.

I Need to Apply for a Visa, but I have a Criminal Record, What Do I do?
When you go to apply for a visa and you know that you have a criminal offense on your record with a conviction granted by the court, the first thing you should think about is whether your conviction fits the criteria of a substantial crime, which in this case would that your application could be easily rejected by the department.
If you do not have any substantial crimes on your criminal record, you may still be able to pass the character test, however, if you have any criminal offenses, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer or immigration agent.

My Visa Was Refused or Cancelled on Character Grounds. What Should I Do?

Suppose your visa application has been refused or cancelled by the DHA due to not passing the character test. In that case, you may apply to the AAT to have the decision reviewed. Your decision letter will explain whether the AAT can review your decision. If the AAT cannot review the decision, your other option could be to appeal in the Federal Court of Australia. For mandatory cancellations, your lawyer or agent can also assist with applying to revoke the cancellation.

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

12 Jan, 2024

You may also be interested in…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *