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If you have a shady past or a criminal history, you could fail the character test for an Australian visa. Australia only wants law-abiding residents and requires proof that all applicants are of good character. If you don’t reveal any criminal history in your visa application, and it comes to light later, you could have your visa cancelled and be deported.

Q. Should I be worried about this test?

Only if you have been in trouble with the law either overseas or in Australia, or have been known to associate with criminals. In short, if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have been sentenced of 12 months or more in prison. 
  • You have been convicted of an offence committed during immigration detention. 
  • You have associated with a group or organisation suspected of being involved in criminal conduct, people trafficking, war crimes, torture or slavery. 
  • Your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character. There is a risk that while you are in Australia you would engage in criminal, dangerous or anti-social conduct. 
  • You have been found guilty of child sex offences. If the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has security concerns about you.  

Q. What if I am already in Australia?

If you are removed from Australia after your visa is cancelled on character grounds you will be permanently excluded from being granted another visa to re-enter Australia. The cancellation of your visa will also prevent you from applying for most other visas to remain Australia.

Q. What happens if I don’t pass the test?

Character issues don’t mean automatic refusal. You will be referred to the Minister or his delegate to decide if there are mitigating factors, such as the impact of a refusal on any family in Australia, impact on business in Australia if the visa is refused, and any impact on the wider Australian community.

Q. Is there a right of appeal?

Unless the Minister personally refuses to issue a visa, there is a right of review of the decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In the case of mandatory visa cancellation following a conviction or prison sentence, you have 28 days to request revocation of the decision to mandatorily cancel your visa.

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