PIC 4020 false or misleading information or bogus document: PIC 4020 is an integrity Public Interest Criteria or PIC.
PIC 4020 is normally a requirement for the grant of most visas. If you or your representative or agent have provided a false or misleading information or a bogus document to the Department or the AAT in relation to a visa application now or in the past, your current visa application may be refused or your current visa can be cancelled.
If the Department is not satisfied that you or a member of your family breached PIC 4020, you or they may be subjected to a 3 year ban if you or they have provided false or misleading information is a visa application.
If the Department is not satisfied with your or a member of your family’s identity, e.g. using a bogus passport and the Department is not satisfied with your real identity (can be your name or your date of birth), you may be subjected to a 10 year ban (PIC 4020(2A)).
Under PIC 4020, the ban is known as a non-grant period. This mean that you can still apply for a visa (i.e. you are not prevented from applying) but the Department may not grant you the visa.
PIC 4020 bogus document
Bogus document is defined as:
- purported to have been, but was not, issued to that person; or
- counterfeit or has been altered by a person who does not have authority; or
- was obtained because of a false or misleading statement, whether or not made knowingly.
PIC 4020 false or misleading information in a ‘material particular‘
PIC 4020(5) defines false or misleading information in a ‘material particular’ to mean:
- information that is false or misleading at the time it is given; and
- the information is relevant to any of the criteria the Department may consider when making a decision on your visa application, whether or not the decision is made because of that information.
PIC 4020 false or misleading information
PIC 4020 is the integrity PIC and enables refusal of a visa if the applicant provides a bogus document, or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to the application for the visa, or in relation to a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made. It also enables refusal where the applicant fails to satisfy the Department as to their identity.
PIC 4020 also enables visa refusal where you or a member of your family unit has, within a particular time period, been refused a visa because of a failure to meet PIC 4020 false or misleading or bogus document requirements.
You may not satisfy PIC 4020 if you
- provide a bogus or fake document, e.g. creating your own payslips to show you work in a particular job or a particular company
- conceal information, e.g. refusing to answer or leaving blank a “Yes” or “No” question
- providing false or misleading information, e.g. claiming to have worked full-time when you only worked part-time or claiming to have worked for a particular company when you have not.
PIC 4020 may no apply if you are aware that you have given an incorrect information and notify the Department to correct the incorrect information. Similarly, even if you failed to satisfy PIC 4020, you may request for a waiver under PIC 4020(4).
You should note that if you have provided a bogus or fake document, you will not be able to replace the bogus or fake document with the real one.
PIC 4020 contains 2 key areas:
- fraud relating to bogus document and false or misleading information
- satisfaction with your or a member of your family’s identity.
3 years exclusion for giving bogus or false or misleading information
PIC 4020 is enlivened if in the last 3 years a visa was refused due to the giving of bogus or false or misleading information. However, children under 18 are excluded from PIC 4020. What this mean is, if you or a member of your family was previously (within 3 years of your current visa application decision) refused a visa under PIC 4020(1) because you or the member of your family provided bogus documents or false or misleading information. PIC 4020(2) does not apply to anyone who was, at the time of application for the refused visa was made, under 18. However, the minor’s applicant can be refused for failing to satisfy PIC 4020 but will not be affected by the 3 year rule or penalised for future application.
10 years exclusion for fake identity
If you or a member of your family was previously refused a visa because the Department was not satisfied as to your or their identity, PIC 4020(2A) will be enlivened and you or they will not be granted a visa for 10 years starting before your current visa application was made and ending when the Department granted or refused to grant the visa. PIC 4020(2B) does not apply to anyone who was, at the time of application for the refused visa was made, under 18. However, the minor’s applicant can be refused for failing to satisfy PIC 4020 but will not be affected by the 10 year rule or penalised for future application.
PIC 4020 false or misleading or bogus document require purposeful falsity
PIC 4020 may not apply if you could explain that it was an innocent mistake that a bogus document or false or misleading information was provided to the Department.
If you have given or cause to be given, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular, in order for the Department to refuse the visa application on the basis of failing to satisfy PIC 4020, it is necessary that the information or document have the quality of ‘purposeful falsity’ whether or not you can be shown to have personal knowledge of that fact.
For e.g., your immigration lawyer or registered migration agent provided skills assessment contains information that is inconsistent with the information provided in the application. You did not have your skills assessment result, your migration agent applied for the skills assessment on your behalf.
The Department check with issuing authority and confirm they issued the incorrect skills assessment letter and accepted responsibility for the error.
Neither you nor the registered migration agent purposefully provided the incorrect skills assessment letter even though you are ultimately responsible to ensure the skills assessment is accurate. Hence, it is not possible to show that the skills assessment has the quality of purposeful falsity.
Examples of PIC 4020 false or misleading information:
- False or inaccurate statements or information in a document, application, or declaration.
- Omission of facts that are false or misleading in a material in particular, such as an applicant for a Partner visa not notifying the Department that their sponsor died shortly after the visa application was lodged. (However, in some circumstances a failure to notify a change of circumstances may not be relevant to PIC 4020, but can enliven cancellation grounds.)
- Supplying false statements or information when asked to clarify information or omitting relevant information in a way that misrepresents facts.
- An applicant nominates a person they claim is their sister as their sponsor, however it is later discovered that the sponsor is in fact the applicant’s sister-in-law. There are no provisions for in-laws to sponsor.
- An applicant provides a training certificate in support of an application. The certificate and training undertaken is accurate, however the applicant claims that the training organisation is a Registered Training Organisation when it is not.
- An applicant makes a Visitor visa application stating on the form they have been employed for the past two years. Verification with the employer reveals the applicant has been employed only for the past three months.
- Variances in birth dates provided on the application form and birth certificate that cannot be adequately explained.
- False or misleading information about a secondary and/or non-migrating dependant’s relationship to the primary applicant.
- A false or misleading employment reference in support of an applicant’s work experience claims.
- A variance between marriage locations provided on application form and marriage certificate that cannot be adequately explained.
Examples of PIC 4020 bogus documents
Not issued for the applicant
- a document belonging to another person that is presented to the Department by as their own.
Documents that are counterfeit
These are documents that have been manufactured to resemble genuine documents.
- passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, educational certificate, adoption order, work reference or financial document, or any document intended to support their purposed identity
- documents regarding custody or dependency claims relating to a minor
- work experience documentation relating to skilled work undertaken in their nominated occupation (either in Australia or outside Australia, or both), prior to the application being made
- digitally altered photos to support claims of relationship or identity.
Altered without authority
Documents that have been altered by a person who does not have authority to do so
- a work reference created by the employer but the applicant or someone else (who does not have the authority to do so) makes changes for example to the position held or the dates worked
- passports or identity cards that have been altered (for example a passport photo substituted or the date of birth overwritten.
Obtained by giving false or misleading statement
Documents obtained because of a false or misleading statement
- an English language test result that was achieved by an imposter.
- a skills assessment obtained by providing false claims to a relevant assessing authority
- a qualification issued to the applicant by a Registered Training Organisation that was obtained because of a false or misleading statement
- passport issued on the basis of other bogus documents
- medical report following a medical examination undertaken by an imposter.
A bogus work reference could include:
- Bogus because it purports to have been, but was not, issued in respect of the applicant: where the applicant has a friend who shares the same name and the letter was issued in respect of the friend.
- Bogus because it is counterfeit: where the reference is created by someone falsely claiming to act on behalf of an employer or falsely claiming to be the employer
- Bogus because it was altered by someone without authority to do so: where the employer issues a reference but the applicant or someone else (who does not have the authority to do so) makes changes for example to the position held or the dates worked
- Bogus because it was obtained by false or misleading statement: where an applicant approaches a person who runs a business, states that they used to work at the business, and asks for a work reference. The business owner, not remembering the applicant, assumes that they did work there and gives them a work reference.
PIC 4020 false or misleading or bogus document waiver
The Department has a discretion to waive PIC 4020 if there are compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia or an Australian citizen or PR or an eligible NZ citizen to justify granting you the visa.
However, there is no waiver to providing false or fake identity.
PIC 4020 waiver – what evidence to provide?
Generally, you can give any information to support you PIC 4020 waiver request. Examples might include:
- Statements that are signed by you or the visa applicant
- Evidence that the documents or information were not given by you or the visa applicant
- Evidence that any false or misleading information is not relevant to the visa criteria
- Evidence that the document has not been counterfeit or altered, and was not obtained because of a false or misleading statement
- Evidence that information was not false or misleading at the time it was given.
- Evidence of serious family situations, such as the death of a family member
- Evidence of your family members in Australia would be left without financial or emotional support
- Evidence that a parent in Australia would be separated from their child
- Details of how Australia’s trade or business opportunities or relationship with a foreign government would be impacted if the visa was not granted.
- Evidence that if you were not granted the visa then Australia would be deprived of a significant business, economic, cultural, or other development
- Medical reports or welfare issues affecting an Australian citizen, PR or eligible NZ citizen.
Can you prevent PIC 4020 by withdrawing the doc or withdrawing your visa application prevent PIC 4020? Click here to learn more.
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This article is not intended to be or taken as migration legal advice. The author of this article disclaims any liability for any action or omission on the information provided or not provided in this article. You should always consult an immigration lawyer or a registered migration agent to form an informed opinion on your immigration matter.