Can You Move To Australia With A Criminal Record?

To move to Australia, you’ll need to obtain an immigration visa. The visa approval process involves meeting the good character requirements. Given those character requirements, the big question is, “Can you move to Australia with a criminal record?”

Your Australian visa approval depends on the crime you committed, the sentence you received, and your conduct since your conviction.

Can You Move To Australia With A Criminal Record in 2024?

Can You Move To Australia With A Criminal RecordAustralia

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection assesses visa applications on a case-by-case basis.

Each visa applicant must declare their criminal history and pass the good character test.

Some offenses are more serious than others. If you’ve got a substantial criminal record, or pose a danger to the Australian community, you won’t pass the good character test and your visa application could be refused.

What Is A Substantial Criminal Record?

Australian immigration authorities determine that a person has a substantial criminal record if they’ve been:

  • sentenced to a term of 12 months or more in prison
  • sentenced to 2 or more prison terms where the length of the combined sentences is 2 years or longer
  • sentenced to death or life imprisonment

Additional reasons a person is considered to have a substantial criminal record include:

  • being acquitted of an offense due to unsoundness of mind or insanity which resulted in the person being detained in a facility or institution
  • having an association with an individual, group, or organization suspected of having been, or being, involved in criminal conduct

Australian Immigration Good Character Assessment

Australian Immigration Good Character Assessment

You may be asked to provide a police or penal clearance certificate and a letter of good conduct from your employer.

Police certificates are generally required for every country you’ve lived in for at least 12 months over the last 10 years.

You may also be asked to complete Form 1563 “Statement of Character” or Form 80 “Personal Particulars For Assessment Including Character Assessment”.

Questions Asked On Form 1563 “Statement of Character”

Form 1563 contains 18 questions related to offenses, asking if you’ve ever been:

  1. Charged with any offense currently awaiting legal action.
  2. Convicted of an offense in any country, including convictions now removed from official records.
  3. Charged or convicted of family/domestic violence offenses.
  4. The subject of a domestic or family violence order, or any other order for the personal protection of another person.
  5. The subject of an arrest warrant or Interpol notice.
  6. Found guilty of a sexually based offense involving a child (including where no conviction was recorded).
  7. Named on a sex offender register.
  8. Acquitted of any offense on the grounds of unsoundness of mind or insanity.
  9. Found not fit to plead
  10. Involved in, or associated with, activities that represent a risk to national security in Australia or another country.
  11. Charged with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, slavery, or any other crime of serious international concern.
  12. Associated with a person, group, or organization that has been/is involved in criminal conduct.
  13. Associated with an organization engaged in violence or engaged in acts of violence (including war, insurgency, freedom fighting, terrorism, protest) in Australia or another country.
  14. Involved in people smuggling or trafficking.
  15. Removed, deported, or excluded from any country.
  16. In a military force, police force, state-sponsored/private militia, or intelligence agency.
  17. Trained by the military/paramilitary, trained in weapons/explosives, or the manufacture of chemical/biological products.
  18. Found to have overstayed a visa

You’re also asked if you owe any money to the Australian government or any Australian public authority.

Information Required on Form 80

Form 80 is very detailed. In addition to answering the questions about your criminal history, you have to provide:

  • Identity and citizenship information
  • Addresses for the last 10 years
  • Travel history for the last 10 years
  • Complete employment history
  • Education, training, and qualifications (post high school)
  • Military history
  • Visa and citizenship refusals
  • Details about your partner, children, siblings, and parents
  • Details of any personal contacts in Australia
  • Details about your sponsoring employer

When Do You Fail The Good Character Test?

When Do You Fail The Good Character Test?

Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 sets out the criteria for the good character test. You won’t meet the good character requirements if:

  • You’ve got a substantial criminal record
  • You’ve been convicted of domestic violence or subject to a domestic violence order
  • There’s reasonable suspicion you’re a member of an organization involved in criminal conduct
  • There’s reasonable suspicion you’ve been involved in serious crimes (people smuggling, genocide, slavery, war crimes, torture, or any crime of serious international concern)
  • There’s a risk you could harass, molest, intimidate, or stalk people in Australia
  • You are considered a risk by Interpol or The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

Read the full criteria for the good character test here:

The Australian Department of Home Affairs states, “We consider all circumstances of a case. Even if you do not meet the character requirements, we, or the Minister for Home Affairs can choose to grant your visa.”

What Criminal Convictions Prevent Travel To Australia?

While criminal records are considered on a case-by-case basis, one offense will always result in a visa refusal.

Under the 2017 amendments to the Australian Migration Act 1958 anyone convicted of 1 or more sexual offenses involving a child will be refused a visa.

Can You Go To Australia With A Criminal Record? Key Takeaways

Can You Go To Australia With A Criminal Record?

  • You must disclose your criminal record on your visa application
  • Criminal records are assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • You must answer the questions for the good character test
  • You won’t pass the good character test if you have a substantial criminal record
  • If you fail the good character test, you may still be granted a visa
  • Visa applications will be refused if a sexual offense against a child has been committed.

Can I go to Australia with a criminal record? Having a substantial criminal record won’t always result in a visa refusal.

And if your offense/s led to a non-custodial sentence or a prison sentence of less than 12 months, your visa application has a high chance of success.

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