There are currently 21 Public Interest Criteria in Schedule 4 of the Migration Regulations. They deal with Character, health checks, children moving between countries, signing the values statement and declarations that an applicant intends to live permanently in Australia (amongst other things).
The most recent addition is 4020.
On 2 April 2011 this criterion was inserted by way of amendments of the Migration Regulations into the following visa subclasses – 119 (Regional Sponsored Migration – Employer Nomination), 121 (Employer Nomination Scheme), 175 (GSM Skilled Independent), 176 (GSM Skilled State Territory Sponsored), 457 (Business Long Stay),476 (Skilled Recognized Graduate) , 485 (Skilled Graduate), 487 (Skilled Regional Sponsored), 495 (Skilled Independent Regional Provisional), 496 (Skilled Designated Area Sponsored Provisional), 856 (Employer Nomination Scheme) , 857 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme), 880 (Skilled Independent Overseas Student) , 881 (Skilled Australian Sponsored Overseas Student), 882 (Skilled Designated Area Overseas Student), 883 (Skilled Designated Area Sponsored Residence),885 (Skilled Independent), 886 (Skilled Sponsored) and 887 (Skilled Regional).
Sorry about all that detail but it is very important to know which visa subclasses this PIC applies to. Over recent months I’ve been seeing an increasing number of DIAC letters threatening to invoke 4020 that ask the applicant to “comment” on something that DIAC have a suspicion about and visa refusals on the basis of this PIC.
So we are all on the same page this is what 4020 actually says…
(1) There is no evidence before the Minister that the applicant has given, or caused to be given, to the Minister, an officer, the Migration Review Tribunal, a relevant assessing authority or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to:
(a) the application for the visa; or
(b) a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.
(2) The Minister is satisfied that during the period:
(a) starting 3 years before the application was made; and
(b) ending when the Minister makes a decision to grant or refuse the application;
the applicant and each member of a family unit of the applicant has not been refused a visa because of a failure to satisfy the criteria in subclause (1).
(3) To avoid doubt, subclauses (1) and (2) apply whether or not the Minister became aware of the bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular because of information given by the applicant.
(4) The Minister may waive the requirements of any or all of paragraphs (1)(a) or (b) and subclause (2) if satisfied that:
(a) compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia; or
(b) compassionate or compelling circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen;
justify the granting of the visa.
(5) In this clause:
information that is false or misleading in a material particular means information that is:
(a) false or misleading at the time it is given; and
(b) relevant to any of the criteria the Minister may consider when making a decision on an application, whether or not the decision is made because of that information.
So it’s all about bogus documents and information that is false or misleading.
If you’re not familiar with it the Immigration Advice & Rights Centre Inc. is a source of a mass of first rate reliable immigration information.
In relation to this topic (PIC 4020) they have a very interesting publically (I found it via Google) available article by Kerry Murphy an Immigration Law Specialist lawyer and a legend in the migration advice profession that is essential reading – See: http://www.iarc.asn.au/_blog/Immigration_News/post/New_Schedule_4_requirement;_Criterion_4020/
Bottom line here is that DIAC have been finding too many questionable documents and this is their response. PIC 4020 is not asking every applicant to become a forensic expert and verify every document – that is simply impossible. As I read it the intent of PIC 4020 is to assess the intention of the applicant. Did the applicant knowingly submit a bogus document or provide misleading information with the intention of committing fraud or misleading DIAC, the MRT etc… 4020 is not there to catch out the innocent. If you do manage one way or another to fall foul of PIC 4020 get professional advice ASAP!