Australia Updates Character Requirement for Immigration

 By: Hanna Eliasson
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has recently updated and released the latest version of the Character Requirement, which now includes more criteria in the test, for those who wish to enter and stay in Australia.

In the updated Character Requirement, the DIAC has added one more criteria for passing the character test. The most sufficient list of cases that lead to applicants' failure for the character test is that when:

  • they have a substantial criminal record. A person is considered to have a substantial criminal record if they have been: sentenced to either death or life imprisonment; sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more; sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment (whether on one or more occasions), where the total of those terms is two years or more; or acquitted of an offence on the grounds of either unsoundness of mind or insanity and, as a result, the person has been detained in a facility or institution.


  • they have been convicted of any offence that was committed while in immigration detention, during an escape from immigration detention, during a period where a person escaped from immigration detention, or if the person has been convicted of the offence of escaping from immigration detention


  • they have, or have had, an association with an individual, group or organisation suspected of having been, or being, involved in criminal conduct


  • having regard to the person's ast and present criminal conduct, the person is found not to be of good character


  • having regard to the person's past and present general conduct, the person is found to be not of good character


  • there is a significant risk that the person will engage in criminal conduct in Australia, harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia, vilify a segment of the Australian community, or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community.


It's compulsory for Australian visa applicants, non-citizen sponsors and non-migrating family members who wish to enter and stay in Australia to have their character assessed, which means they have to meet the character requirements mentioned in Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

This section of the Migration Act 1958 designs the character test to ensure that visa applicants, relevant non-citizen sponsors, as well as non-migrating family members are of good character. In addition, the test also gives discretionary powers to either refuse or cancel visas if potential migrants to Australia fail the test.

If visa applications are cancelled due to applicants' a substantial criminal record or past and present criminal conduct, these applicants will be permanently excluded from Australia.

There are some other cases when applicants are determined by the competent Australian authorities to be directly or indirectly a risk to Australian national security, their visa will be refused. Moreover, if the Foreign Minister, or a person authorised by the Foreign Minister assesses someone's presence in Australia to be contrary to Australia's foreign policy interests or Australia's Autonomous Sanctions Regulations; or directly or indirectly associated with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, that person's visa will be refused.
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