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The Character Test - Did you know?
Old 15th October 2009, 02:56 AM   #1
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Location: Australia
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Default The Character Test - Did you know?

Most visas will require applicants to pass certain public interest criteria set under Australian migration laws, including what is referred to as the “character test”.

The Minister for Immigration has the right to refuse any application for a visa if he or she is not satisfied that the applicant passes the “character test”. There is a general power to refuse a visa on character grounds, as well as a specific character criterion that must be met for all visa classes.

An applicant satisfies the character requirements if:
  • the applicant satisfies the Minister that they pass the character test, or
  • the Minister is satisfied that there is nothing to indicate that the applicant would not pass the character test, or
  • the Minister has decided not to refuse the visa despite not being satisfied that the applicant passes the character test.

You do not pass the character test if:
  • you have a substantial criminal record – this means that you:
- have been sentenced to death or to imprisonment for life
- have been sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or more
- have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment totalling at least two years, or
- have been acquitted of an offence on the grounds of insanity or unsoundness of mind and have been detained in an institution
  • you have or have had an association with another person, a group, or an organisation that the Department of Immigration reasonably suspects as being involved in criminal conduct
  • you are not of good character because of your past or present criminal conduct, and/or your general conduct (see below), or
  • there is a significant risk that while in Australia you would:
- engage in criminal conduct
- harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
- vilify a segment of the Australian community
- incite discord in the Australian community or a part of the community, or
- represent a danger to the Australian community or a part of the community.

To show whether you pass the character test you will be asked a series of questions on the visa application form. If you are applying for a temporary visa for a stay of less than 12 months generally this is all that will be required unless your answers to those questions raise any concerns.

If you are applying for a permanent visa, or a temporary visa (not all) for a stay of longer than 12 months, then you will need to obtain a police clearance certificate from any country you have lived in for 12 months or more (cumulatively) over the last 10 years (since turning 16).

Past and present criminal conduct
Factors which are relevant in considering your past and present criminal conduct include:
  • the nature, severity and frequency of the offence/s
  • the period since the offence/s were committed
  • your record since the offence/s were committed including any evidence of recidivism or continuing association with criminals and any pattern of similar offences or blatant disregard or contempt for the law
  • any circumstances surrounding the offending which may explain the conduct such as may be evidence from judges’ comments, parole reports and similar documents, and
  • any good acts after the criminal conduct that are indications that you may be reformed.

General conduct
Factors which are relevant in considering your general conduct include whether you have:
  • been involved in activities indicating contempt or disregard for the law or for human rights, including:
- involvement in terrorist activity, trafficking or possession of trafficable quantities or proscribed substances, political extremism, extortion or fraud
- a history of serious breaches of immigration law
- involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity
  • been removed or deported from Australia or from another country
  • where the person has been dishonourably discharged or discharged prematurely from the armed forces of another country as a result of disciplinary action in serious circumstances.

Any of these forms of general conduct could constitute a failure to pass the Character Test.

Countervailing factors would include recent good behaviour that shows that you have reformed. If there is an issue as to whether you pass the character test you should present as much evidence as possible of good recent behaviour, including character references, evidence of employment, any changes in circumstances (eg moving from a particular area or group of people).

You should seek advice from a registered migration agent if you think you may not meet the Character Test or as soon as possible if the Department of Immigration indicates to you that they have concerns regarding your character.

Last edited by Migration Help; 29th October 2009 at 01:56 AM. Reason: change of title
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