The Australian Government is taking a tougher stance on people who submit fake documents in order to secure Australian visas.
Anyone supplying misleading information or submitting fraudulent documents could now face a ten-year exclusion period form lodging another application.
How will it work?
There's always been a 12-month ban to those who've provided false information and fake documents but now it's been extended to 10 years. The ban also applies to information and documents provided with visa applications which were later withdrawn.
It includes agents or sponsors acting on your behalf who submit inaccurate paperwork, along with family members who may submit evidence which is fake. It's best to make sure that everyone involved in your application remains honest and it's important to tell them of the consequences if they are not truthful.
All documents need to be genuine and accurate, including details on the visa application form, official documents submitted, passenger arrival and departure card information. Past work experience and qualifications are amongst the most fraudulent documents submitted. Applicants also commonly fail to declare past criminal records.
The changes to the migration regulations are being introduced by promulgating the Migration Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Regulations 2017.
Why have they extended the ban?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection says evidence shows that those who lie with visa applications are more likely to provide false and bogus information to other government departments.
Officials claim that the 12-month exclusion period which existed, wasn't enough of a deterrent as applicants actively waited out the year and then reapplied. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says visa candidates 'effectively endure' the year avoidance period and were quick to reapply.
He added that the ten-year ban was a 'vital, sensible and proportionate' measure to uphold the visa program.
Will there by any exceptions?
There is a waiver which exists for compelling and compassionate circumstances but Immigration officers advise that this will be in extreme cases only.
They will have the authority and discretion in deciding whether or not the fraudulent documents were submitted deliberately, or whether applicants inadvertently and accidentally provided inaccurate information. In the latter incidence the applicants will not be subject to refusal.
Other important changes being introduced include a new condition which forbids the visa holder to engage in criminal activities in Australia. This previously applied to bridging visas, but is now extended to a wider range of temporary visas.
A new condition introduced means that temporary visa holders must use a single identity when dealing with Australian State, Territory or Federal Governments. If a visa holder changes their name, they must notify the relevant authorities as soon as possible.
A further condition relates to public health. If a temporary visa holder fails to pay off a health care debt, then this could mean their current visa will be cancelled. This is being introduced because of a rising number of temporary visa holders who aren't paying their health bills.
If you want further information regarding your visa options, speak to the team at Visa Solutions Australia today. We have a wide area of expertise in skilled migration visas, employer sponsored work visas, partner and family visas.