Is an affidavit enough to fix a bogus document? Advice for Australian Filipina couples.

An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law.

The Australian equivalent for most purposes is the statutory declaration, and this is the one that Down Under Visa will normally ask of an Australian sponsor and their Australian visa application. Affidavits still exist in Australia for some purposes, but I couldn’t tell you for what.

affidavit

Basically, it’s a way to give some extra clout to a statement, because there are laws that apply in both Australia and in Philippines when someone tells a lie on an affidavit, as there are when someone lies on a stat dec. Therefore those written statements are taken more seriously and are more likely to be believed.

Now, I think most have heard the description of the basic toolbox which contains a roll of duct tape and a can of WD40? It goes like this:

If it moves, and shouldn’t move…….use duct tape. If it doesn’t move and SHOULD move…..use WD40.

We’re talking about temporary measures, obviously. And this is the point I’m about to make!

An affidavit is not legal duct tape!

I just did a BLOG article about false statements on Australian visa applications and the serious repercussions under Regulation 4020 (aka PIC 4020), ie. refusal and a 3 year ban. Well, exactly the same thing applies to what they call bogus documents. Why they chose the term “bogus”, I don’t know. But it means a document which contains information that is false, whether or not that was the intention. So it applies whether the document is:

  • A deliberate forgery that you got from a dodgy stall in a marketplace in Manila
  • An official document from a Government department like the NSO where the scheming person behind the counter said “Don’t worry. I can FIX it for you!” and issued one with incorrect information
  • Or any document containing information that isn’t correct, whether deliberate or careless. Not talking minor typos. We’re talking actual wrong information.

One of the problems here is that Australia and Philippines take different approaches to incorrect information. In Australia, having a second birth certificate made for convenience or sometimes downright fraud (such as increasing your age so you can work overseas, or so the neighbor can informally adopt the child), this is unheard-of. The system isn’t designed to cope! Yet in the Philippines it’s as common as breathing. Therefore the way of dealing with it all is often just as relaxed as the attitude that caused it to happen in the first place.

I’m talking about using an affidavit to cure all legal ills!

We frequently have clients with mistakes in their paperwork, all of which could lead to PIC 4020 in it’s full fury raining down on their helpless visa application.

  • We tell them to go and get the document corrected.
  • They come back with an affidavit from the attorney who assures them that this will definitely do the job!
  • And when we tell them it’s not good enough, they often don’t believe us!

It will NOT do the job! It makes as much sense as finding your car is split in half, and the mechanic repairing it with duct tape! Under Australian Law and the Australian way of viewing legal documents, it does not work and will never work!

And the other issue is that the attorney should know better than to make statements about something he knows nothing about, ie Australian Law! Ask the attorney how many Australian visa applications he’s been involved in? Ask him his thoughts on Regulation 4020(1) of the Migration Regulations (Cth) 1994 and on how to avoid the penalties? If he can’t answer, then he shouldn’t make those statements in the first place. I don’t advise on Philippines legal matters. I don’t even advise on Australian legal matters that are outside of my area of expertise. I don’t even advise on Australian visas that I don’t regularly deal with, such as work or student visas.

And when we say “You need to get the document corrected”, that means get it corrected……not merely patched up!

Aussie-friendly places in the Philippines?
Serious repercussions of false statements in an Australian Visa Application