The changes to the migration regulations are being introduced by promulgating the Migration Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Regulations 2017, which will take effect on 18th November 2017. Under the current regulations, segment 4020 of the Public Interest Criterion targets candidates who supply false records or false and misleading information to the Australian Government in the last 12 months before an application is made.
However, this period is now being extended to ten years before making a visa application, effectively barring those applicants for ten years who have allegedly engaged in providing false information or visa fraud.
As indicated by the Immigration Minister, the intention behind this change is to keep candidates from evading the principles by a method for pulling back their applications ” once notified by the Department of suspected fraud, only to re-attempt their visa application after the period of 12 months has elapsed.”
Under the new rules, any candidate who has given fake documentation or false or misleading information within the last ten years to the Immigration Department, Migration Review Tribunal or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal may be locked out of the visa process for ten years for their failure to meet the Public Interest Criterion.
The Immigration Department says visa candidates giving false data are probably going to give false and fake data to other government divisions as well. It says currently, such applicants are able to “actively wait out” the 12-month exclusion period and then immediately re-apply.
The Immigration Minister said a 10-year audit period is an “important, sensible and proportionate” measure to protect the integrity of the visa framework.
The department says officers will have discretion to determine whether or not the visa applicant has deliberately submitted fraudulent documents and applicants who accidentally provide false or incorrect information will not be subject to refusal.