The consequences of being convicted of a serious criminal offence or offences while in Australia seems to be misunderstood by many people.
If you are resident in Australia, either as a permanent resident or as a temporary visa holder and you have a “substantial criminal record” you may find yourself having your visa cancelled and deported from Australia.
A “substantial criminal record” is defined as having spent 12 months in prison. It is important to note that this does not have to be in a single sentence but can be calculated cumulatively (for example two separate offences for which you served 6 months on each sentence or a number of offences for which you served many short terms of imprisonment but which add up, in total, to 12 months or more). Time spent in “home detention” also counts as imprisonment.
The reason behind cancelling visas and removing people who have a substantial criminal record from Australia is, understandably, “to protect the Australian community from harm as a result of criminal activity or other serious conduct by non-citizens.”
The Australian government is proposing to make significant changes to the law to widen the range of sentences which may be taken into account in assessing whether a person has a substantial criminal record.
It is an extremely serious matter if you are given a letter from the Department stating that they intend to cancel your visa on “character grounds.”
If you get such a letter from the Department get professional help straight away. The law around visa cancellation on character grounds is extremely complex but there may be a way to salvage the situation. There are a number of factors which must be taken into consideration and, depending on your particular circumstances, it may be possible to avoid cancellation of your visa.
We have a dedicated, experienced and professional team at Red Earth Migration who are committed to giving you the best and most cost-effective advice and assistance.
Call us and we will do our best to help you.