When it comes to applying for a visa to Australia, it’s important to understand that your criminal record can have a significant impact on your application’s success. Even if your offences are from many years ago, you will likely need to explain the circumstances surrounding the offences during the visa application process.
The Australian Department of Immigration requires that all visa applicants must prove they are of good character before a visa is granted. This means that even if you committed an offence in the past and have moved on from it, you may still be required to disclose and explain it. The definition of good character is quite extensive, and it’s important to understand how your criminal convictions may impact your application.
In recent years, there has been a record number of visa and citizenship applications either refused or questioned further due to character concerns. Even seemingly minor offences, such as traffic violations, can impact your character assessment. One example is when a person was refused Australian citizenship due to failing to satisfy the Department of their good character, after the Department checked the person’s driving record which showed they had crashed a vehicle while on their Learner’s driving permit.
If you are found not to be of good character, the consequences can be severe. Not only will your current visa be cancelled, but any future visa application may also be refused. This is because if a person is found not to be of good character, they should not be allowed to continue their stay in Australia.
It’s important to note that each country and legal jurisdiction has its own rules when it comes to “spent” convictions. Some serious convictions may never be removed from a person’s record, even after a substantial amount of time has passed since the conviction was recorded.
When applying for an Australian visa, it’s essential to disclose any convictions, charges, pending charges, including spent convictions, and anything removed from official records. All convictions, whether spent or not, are relevant for migration purposes. By disclosing convictions upfront, you can put yourself in a better position for a future visa application.
If the Department discovers a character issue in your application that you did not previously disclose, you may be subjected to false information provisions. Providing false, misleading, or bogus information or documents can result in a ban of up to three years from future visa applications. If the false, misleading, or bogus information relates to identity documentation, the ban is for a 10-year period.
It’s essential to work with a registered migration agent or lawyer during the visa application process and disclose everything upfront, no matter how trivial or old the information may be. Your best chance of success lies in being honest and open about your history and identity.
In conclusion, criminal convictions can have a significant impact on your Australian visa application. It’s essential to disclose all relevant information upfront and work with an experienced professional to navigate the process successfully. By doing so, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your dreams of living and working in Australia.