I think most Down Under Visa clients and BLOG readers are familiar with the strict rules about false statements and bogus documents and their catastrophic effect on Australian visa applications? We’ve certainly hammered the point over the years, and our strictness has largely paid off. We’ve had a few clients caught in the net, but in I think all cases it was because of some fairly deliberate omissions of facts, such as husbands and kids they decided to leave off applications.
But our scrutiny over checking documents thoroughly and demanding legal corrections of errors and has meant that so far we’ve caught each and every single error before it went into the system and led to visa refusals. And being specialists in Australian visa applications from Philippines, we know the scams and we know the documents very very well. Am I proud of this result? Damned right I am! And rightly so. This is why I generally respond to client-requests for lowered standards with “Fine! Would you like to take the risk?” They generally don’t. If you engage an expert, you need to let us do our job.
Reg 4020 has got tougher
Regulation 4020, or Public Interest Criteria 4020 (or PIC 4020) is the legislative criteria that your application will be compared against. It applies to partner visas (onshore and offshore) and prospective marriage visas, as well as child visas and tourist visas. Formerly you risked a 3 year ban if they found evidence of false statements and bogus documents which were “material particular” to the outcome of the application. That means anything that COULD be construed as able to influence their decisions and the outcome of the visa application could be seen as material particular. And without getting into arguments about whether your own document error was intentional or not, ignorance or lack of intent don’t factor into it. This covers a wide range of errors, and our success with this should mean you want to follow what we say.
Formerly this applied to (a) current application, and (b) applications GRANTED in the last 12 months. Anything prior didn’t count, and anything not granted or withdrawn didn’t count. And if you lodged an application and they caught you with an indefensible false statement or document then you could withdraw the application. Note I said formerly!
PIC 4020 Changes
PIC 4020 will now cover any application, whether granted or not, in the last 10 years, ie.
- It applies to the current visa application
- It applies to any visa application made (granted or not) in the last 10 years
So no more 3 year bans. You’re now facing a 10 year ban on applying for any further visa applications. And that is a very long time, I think all will agree.
And whereas you could get away with simply withdrawing an application when they caught you out on a lie, that’s now been removed as an escape mechanism. Your only real hope is if you can argue that there are compelling and compassionate circumstances justifying the grant of a visa despite what happened. And that’s not so easy.
What does the new PIC 4020 mean to visa applicants?
It means the gloves are off from the Department’s perspective.
- We’ve had a number of clients who’ve dealt with this by withdrawing their applications to avoid the penalty that would have resulted in a 3 year ban, and this has given them time to rectify the situation and correct errors so that they may apply again.
- Others have gotten away with false statements and bogus documents on visa applications by waiting for 12 months after that visa ended in order to re-apply for further visas.
- And others have “served their time” and waited out three years to apply again.
Sorry to say, but all this is now over. Tolerance is now zero. Make a mistake with the facts, either by carelessness or deliberate lying or omission of facts, and if they find it and deem it “relevant to any of the criteria the Minister may consider when making a decision on an application”, you will risk a 10 year ban.
Visa application from Philippines to Australia. What should you do?
Firstly, understand the seriousness of this and understand why we give you such a hard time about getting facts right.
- Including all children
- Including all addresses
- Including all travel details
- Getting dates right
- Correcting documents errors legally
- And honestly, truthfully and factually alerting us to any mistakes or omissions, whether accidental or intentional, made over the last 10 years of Australian visa applications! If Neng Neng Travel and Pasalubongs made up a dodgy visa application for you in 2009, we need to know about it!
- And not fighting with us when we tell you something! We’re trying to “save your butt” here!
And understand that whilst we will continue to do an outstanding job of identifying potentially poisonous mistakes and omissions in your applications as we always do (which will now take us more work and more man hours), the provision of documents and information that the application is based on will be 100% your responsibility and not something you can fob off onto Down Under Visa. Make sure that facts are right and that all documents are correct as well as genuine, and make sure when we say “check this form” or “check this questionnaire” that you do so like your life depended on it. Let the wrong information go into an application and there’s very little we can do at that point.
I suspect most of you can now see the sense in using a professional Registered Migration Agent who knows all about visa applications for Australian Filipina couples, right?
Before you email in a panic….
This is for existing Down Under Visa clients
This is in pending-response to those panicking emails I always get when I announce something like this. Please read before emailing, thanks. It will save us all hours of stress.
Question: Will this affect my existing application? My application that is already lodged and in the system?
Answer: No! Only new applications lodged after 18 November 2017. Your existing application will be assessed under the old standards.
Question: I have a visa application to lodge, and either (a) you’ve already told me or (b) we know ourselves that there are documents that are false because of incorrect information (either careless mistakes or deliberate lies). What should we do?
Answer: Do NOT allow those documents to be lodged. Get them corrected, and that means corrected legally.
Question: I have documents that contain false information, but it’s all too hard and takes too long to fix them. What should I do?
Answer: Understand that WE will NOT lodge anything that we know is false. And if you do, you know the consequences now. Don’t degrade yourselves by trying to beg your way around it, and don’t waste your time or ours. Face up to it. Take it on the chin. If you want a visa, you need to do what you have to do. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”, as the old cowboy movies would say.
Question: I left out something from a previous visa application, and need to make another one. Will I get a 10 year ban?
Answer: Yes, if (a) they find it and (b) they consider it material particular to that application (eg. did you claim to have a job because you thought that would increase your chances, or did you claim to be unmarried when you were married), then yes. Sorry.
Question: We made the error above because Down Under Visa (a) could not read minds and realise when we said we had checked the form we actually didn’t, or (b) Down Under Visa didn’t spot the contradictions in what we said in forms/assessments/questionnaires and what was in supporting documents. Whose fault is it?
Answer: Not ours, I can assure you. We can only do our best based on what you tell us and give us, and we rely on you checking thoroughly before you sign and say it’s OK.
Question: I was waiting for my three year ban to run out, or you had told me to withdraw the application and that it would be OK. Now you say it’s changed. That’s not fair! You promised!
Answer: We told you what was correct at the time. If the Government change the rules and shift the goalposts, sorry but it’s not our fault.
Question: Can you help me to hide my mistakes? Can you look the other way?
Answer: Never ask us this, because you won’t like the answer. We run an ethical practice, and we won’t ruin our reputation or risk our registration for anybody!