Does bankruptcy affect your Australian Visa application?

A regularly question we receive from prospective migration is; “does being declared bankrupt affect my visa application?”. The answer depends on the visa subclass you are applying for. In all visa applications you will be asked character questions and as bankruptcy is not a criminal offence it therefore won’t affect the eligibility for most visa subclasses for general skilled, employer sponsored or family visas.

However if you are applying for a business visas (subclasses 132, 188, 888, 890, 892, 891, 893) then the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will be assessing your previous business experience.

For a business visa, the DIAC policy states;

In any assessment of the applicant’s business career, the performance of businesses in which the applicant has had a management role is a relevant factor.

Under policy, this criterion generally should not be considered satisfied if:

  • the applicant has been declared bankrupt in the last 5 years or
  • the applicant is (or has been) actively involved in a business that is (or has been) subject to insolvency, receivership or liquidation or
  • the business has suffered recent trading losses and the business is considered unlikely to be successful in the longer term and this can be attributed to the applicant’s role and decision making in the business. (That is, it is not intended that an applicant fail this criterion if the business is likely to be successful in the longer term despite trading losses resulting from external factors such as those listed above).

Officers should take into account:

  • the applicant’s level of decision making and responsibility in the failed business
  • external economic factors outside the control of the applicant
  • how many times the applicant has experienced bankruptcy or been involved in a failed business and
  • the applicant’s history in business since any bankruptcy, insolvency, receivership or liquidation.

Case officer can take into account external factors in their assessment of an applicant’s overall successful business career and we would advise you contact our migration team for a further in-depth assessment if any of these factors relate to your personal circumstances.

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