Look Out for These Public Interest Criterion Changes

Changes have been made to the Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 in relation to identity proof in an attempt to prevent identity fraud in Australian immigration and citizenship programmes. PIC 4020 was introduced in 2011 to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s immigration program by detecting and preventing visa fraud.

What does this mean?

PIC 4020 provides a ground to refuse a visa grant where there is evidence that an applicant has provided a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material matter of the visa application.

What visas are affected?

PIC 4020 criterion applies to most onshore and offshore applications in the family, student, skilled and temporary visa programmes. If you are applying for a refugee, humanitarian or protection visa then this criterion will not affect you.

What has been changed?

The changes include introducing a specific identity requirement before a visa can be granted. Under this criteria you will need to satisfy the Minister of your identify before your visa can be granted. If the Minister is not satisfied as to your identity you will be subject to a 10 year exclusion period for grant of another visa. This exclusion period reflects the seriousness of the PIC 4020 criterion and is expected to act as a deterrent for people thinking of committing identity fraud on their visa applications.

When does this come into effect?

This change will affect all visa applications lodged on or after 22 March 2014.

If you have any questions about these changes or would like to know more information about the identity requirement, please contact a member of our migration team.

You can also read more about this on the Department website.

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