Satisfying Public Interest Criteria 4020 (PIC 4020) is an important part of your visa application. If PIC 4020 is a requirement of your visa, the Department of Home Affairs will need to be satisfied that your identity is correct and you have not provided false or misleading information as part of your visa application. This article will explain PIC 4020 and why it is important to understand before applying for your visa. 

Do I Need to Satisfy PIC 4020 in My Visa Application?

PIC 4020 needs to be satisfied in nearly all visa applications. PIC 4020 covers two key areas:

  • firstly, fraud relating to bogus documents and false or misleading information; and
  • secondly, whether or not the Department is satisfied with the applicant’s identity.

The Department of Home Affairs can refuse your visa application if you cannot satisfy the above. PIC 4020 will apply to all visas in subclasses:

  • business;
  • temporary;
  • student;
  • family; and
  • skilled migration.

However, if you are unsure whether PIC 4020 will apply to the specific visa you are applying for, check the Department of Home Affairs page.

What is False or Misleading Information?

False and misleading information is any information in the application that is either untrue or intended to mislead.

Some examples of false and misleading information include:

  • falsified work references and work placement details;
  • answering questions from the Department of Home Affairs incorrectly;
  • lying about a state of affairs. For example, creating a false relationship for the purposes of a partner visa; or
  • omitting key information. For example, if you are applying for a working visa with the sponsor, but do not disclose that the sponsor is a relative.

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind the decision maker does not need to take into account whether it was an accident or an honest mistake. Therefore, it is important to make sure all the information included in your visa application is truthful and accurate.

For example, if you have accidentally written your marriage date as the 21st September 1999, but your records indicate that it is the 20th September 1999, PIC 4020 can apply and the Department of Home Affairs may refuse your visa.

What is a Bogus Document?

A bogus document is a falsified or fake document in any shape or form. Examples of bogus documents can include:

  • fake passports;
  • birth certificates;
  • doctored academic transcripts; and
  • photoshopped images.

PIC 4020 is meant to be very broad to capture any document, piece of information, or lack of information in a visa application.

Therefore, if you rely on any false or misleading information or a bogus document as part of your application, PIC 4020 will apply and your visa may be refused.

What Happens if the Department Refuses My Visa Under PIC 4020?

The consequences of a visa refusal under PIC 4020 are serious. The Department can ban you from applying for another Australian visa for up to ten years. In addition, the Department may refuse to grant a visa to any listed family members. 

Natural Justice Letter

Normally, before the Department of Home Affairs decides to refuse your visa, they may issue you with a natural justice letter and request that you respond. A natural justice letter gives you an opportunity to:

  • comment on the suspected false or misleading information or bogus document; and
  • address whether you believe any grounds for the waiver apply.

However, if the response to the natural justice letter does not satisfy the Department, they may still refuse the visa for failing to meet PIC 4020.

The Department Refused My Visa Under PIC 4020, What Can I Do?

Request a Waiver

The Department of Home Affairs has the power to waive PIC 4020 in circumstances where they refuse your visa for providing false or misleading information or bogus documents. However, the Department cannot issue a waiver if they are not satisfied with your identity.

To receive a waiver, you must satisfy the Department of Home Affairs that there are either:

  • compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia; or
  • compassionate or compelling circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Therefore, the Department must determine that you satisfy one of these criteria and it justifies the granting of a visa.

Appeal Decision

When the Department refuses a visa application for failing PIC 4020, you will not be able to apply for another visa for a specific period of time. This is known as a non-grant period.

However, if you appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision, the following scenarios demonstrate the possible outcomes (in respect to the non-grant period).

If the AAT:

  • upholds the decision to refuse the visa, the non-grant period will remain in place;
  • decides to set aside and substitute the decision and finds that you meet PIC 4020, the non-grant period will no longer apply;
  • decides to set aside and substitute the decision concerning the other refusal criteria but does not address the PIC 4020 aspect of the decision, it is taken that the non-grant period continues to apply.

Key Takeaways

Overall, it is important to provide accurate and truthful information when you make a visa application. If you provide false or misleading information, the Department of Home Affairs could ban you from applying for another visa for ten years. 

If you need any help preparing your application, or appealing a refusal with the AAT, you can contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Blythe Dingwall
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