Strengthening the Character Test for Non-citizens

The requirement that non-citizens within Australia are law-abiding has been strengthened with a proposal to place additional powers on the enforcement of cancellations and refusals under the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2018.

What does this mean?

Under the proposed amendment non-citizens of Australia who are considered to be violent and are found to inflict long-lasting trauma on victims will have their visa refused or cancelled. The Migration Amendment allows for mandatory removal of any non-citizen that is involved in physical violence, sexual assault, and violence against women. The Amendment states that a conviction is sufficient grounds to consider cancellation as long as the offence carries a maximum sentence of two or more year’s imprisonment. This means that regardless of not being sentenced prison time the Department of Home Affairs and Minister of Immigration will still have the power to refuse a visa application or cancel a visa if there is a potential sentence of two or more years imprisonment.

Permanent visa holders are not immune to the changes and can still have their residency cancelled.

Which offences are serious enough for cancellation or refusal?

The following offences may be included in the Migration Act 1958 as conviction categories that will place a risk on the visa status of the individual:

  • violence against a person, including (without limitation) murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, assault, aggravated burglary and the threat of violence; or
  • non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature, including (without limitation) sexual assault and the non-consensual commission of an act of indecency or sharing of an intimate image; or
  • breaching an order made by a court or tribunal for the personal protection of another person; or
  •  using or possessing a weapon; or
  •  procuring, or assisting in any way with one of these designated crimes; and
  • the offence carries a maximum sentence of two or more years imprisonment.

The Amendment Bill will allow the Minister to obtain personal information from agency’s that will assist in determining the character of the individual.

Should you have any character issues, the Infinite Migration team will evaluate potential problems that may arise. Contact our team for a free consultation.


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