Now that the introduction of a visa ban based on 10 years of history under Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020 has been disallowed by the Senate, what are we to expect will happen? First, let us collectively heave a sigh of relief. The law stands unaltered and as it was before the new change was implemented. We’ve linked our guide to the original PIC 4020 below. All the same, I would not break out the champagne quite just yet.
Read: DIBP’s Broomstick: 3 or 10 Year Ban for False Information & Documentation (The original)
No doubt the government will attempt tightening the law again next year, but not with the 10 year rule. Next time they will be smarter and probably introduce a 3 year clause instead.
Make no mistake, they are determined to stamp out the now common practice of an applicant receiving a 4020 natural justice request letter regarding a particular document or piece of information, withdrawing the application and then re-lodging without providing that document or piece of information. It has been a loop-hole that has increasingly been taken advantage of for so many years, but now the writing is on the wall.
It was a good thing the 10 year rule was overturned by the Senate. Whilst there may be those who are trying to circumvent what should be a fair system, many innocents will also be caught in the crossfire. The Senate’s decision demonstrates a healthy balance in our democratic system. The immigration department having the power to hold over you, every word or piece of information that you provided in the last 10 years was too harsh a rule. A more reasonable and just approach would be their having the power to unearth previous applications for to up to three years. That should be sufficient to deter people from doing the wrong thing and submitting bogus documents and/or false information.