Character Requirements and the Character Test

If you wish to enter or stay in Australia, you must satisfy what is referred to as the ‘Character Requirement’. The requirement is for all non-citizens and sponsors and is set out is Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

This is not a once-off test. You must continue to satisfy the character requirements during your stay in Australia.

For all visas, you must inform the Australia Government of any criminal convictions that you have, in any country. You may also be asked to provide police certificates from any country that you lived in for more than 12 months.

If the Department or the Minister for Immigration or Border Protection determine that you do not pass the character test, they may cancel or refuse your visa.

Mandatory Cancellation

If you have been sentenced to a full-time custodial sentence of 12 months of more imprisonment (regardless of the time actually served) your visa must be cancelled. You will have 28 days to request that this decision is revoked.

In considering requests for revocation of a mandatory cancellation decision, we will consider all circumstances of your case.

The character test

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection states that you will not pass the character test if:

  • you have a substantial criminal record
  • you have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention, or convicted for an offence that you committed:
    • while you were in immigration detention
    • during an escape from immigration detention
    • after an escape, but before you were taken into immigration detention again.
  • you are or have been a member of a group or organisation, or had or have an association with a person, group or organisation that the Minister reasonably suspects of being involved in criminal conduct
  • the Minister reasonably suspects that you have been involved in people smuggling, people trafficking, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery, or a crime that is of serious international concern, whether or not you have been convicted of such an offence
  • your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character
  • there is a risk that while you are in Australia you would:
    • engage in criminal conduct
    • harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
    • vilify a segment of the Australian community
    • incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
    • be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it.
  • you have been convicted, found guilty or had a charge proven for, one or more sexually based offences involving a child
  • you are subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
  • you are subject to an Interpol notice, from which it is reasonable to infer that you are a direct or indirect risk to the Australian community, or a segment of the Australian community.

You can find the Department’s fact sheet on Character cancellations here.