The giving of a false document to the Department has consequences that might go far beyond a mere refusal based on PIC 4020. It is also a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment for 10 years or 1,000 penalty units, or both

The giving of a false document to the Department (which is not the case here until and unless the person in question is found guilty) has consequences that go far beyond a mere refusal based on Public Interest Criterion 4020 of Schedule 4 to the Migration Regulations 1994. Under s 234(1)(c) of the Act, that is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment for 10 years or 1,000 penalty units, or both. That provision reads as follows:

Section 234    False documents and false or misleading information etc. relating to non-citizens

  • (1)  A person shall not, in connexion with the entry, proposed entry or immigration clearance, of a non-citizen (including that person himself or herself) into Australia or with an application for a visa or a further visa permitting a non-citizen (including that person himself or herself) to remain in Australia:
  • (a) present, or cause to be presented, to an officer or a person exercising powers or performing functions under this Act a document which is forged or false;
  • (b) make, or cause to be made, to an officer or a person exercising powers or performing functions under this Act a statement that, to the person’s knowledge, is false or misleading in a material particular; or
  • (c) deliver, or cause to be delivered, to an officer or a person exercising powers or performing functions under this Act, or otherwise furnish, or cause to be furnished for official purposes of the Commonwealth, a document containing a statement or information that is false or misleading in a material particular.
  • (2)  A person shall not transfer or part with possession of a document:
  • (a)  with intent that the document be used to help a person, being a person not entitled to use it, to gain entry, or to remain in, Australia or to be immigration cleared; or
  • (b)  where the person has reason to suspect that the document may be so used. Penalty:  Imprisonment for 10 years or 1,000 penalty units, or both.

To avoid doubt, we are not implying at all that the person who is said to have been charged has provided the Department with any false documents. We are merely discussing the provision which is mentioned in a news article from the Australian Border Force, which reads as follows:

10-12-2018 – A 32-year-old Indian national has been arrested for serious offences under the Migration Act 1958 after allegedly applying for a protection visa using a false identity and fraudulent identity documents.

He presented at Quakers Hill police station in Sydney after an arrest warrant was obtained by Australian Border Force (ABF) investigators for the alleged migration fraud. The man was charged with furnishing a document containing false or misleading information under section 234(1)(c) of the Act.

He appeared in Blacktown Local Court on 6 December 2018 and was refused bail. ABF investigators will allege that after being refused a protection visa using a different name in 2015, the man obtained a false identity and subsequently attempted to apply for a protection visa in Australia using that identity.

ABF Superintendent Investigations NSW, Garry Low said this should serve as a warning to people who think they can exploit the visa system.

“Providing false information on a visa application is a serious offence and the ABF actively pursues the prosecution of people found engaging in these types of crimes,” Superintendent Low said. “If convicted, the offence carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $110,000.”

The man is scheduled to appear in Parramatta Local Court on 12 January 2019.

Protecting the integrity of the migration system is an operational priority for the ABF.

People with information about suspected migration fraud are encouraged to report it to border watch

online atwww.Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. You can remain anonymous.

Media contact: ABF Media (02) 6264 2244

Sergio Zanotti Stagliorio