The initial answer to this is: possibly. However, that’s actually not the biggest issue here.
The Department views the provision of incorrect information (including the omission of relevant information) as a serious problem. Depending on the nature of the information, it might even consider the relevant applicant is intending to deceive the Department into granting a visa on false pretences. This, in the Department’s view, is grave and can call into question the applicant’s good character.
In this circumstance, it is possible for the Department to apply Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 to the applicant, not only refusing their application but preventing them from making another application for any visa for up to 10 years.
Obviously, this would be a tragic circumstance, and one which can have a tremendous impact on your life plans. So don’t risk it.
What are my options now?
The Department considers there to be two categories of incorrect/false information; these are:
- Incorrect answers to questions (including omissions, such as denying a document exists), and
- Bogus documents (this includes fake, altered or documents obtained via bribery).
The second category is dealt with very harshly – we can’t stress this enough: NEVER provide a bogus document to the Department (including any documents you think might be bogus – it doesn’t matter if it’s an acciadent). If you are caught providing a bogus document to the Department, PIC4020 will apply and it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to be granted a visa for Australia. Further, once a bogus document is provided, it cannot be corrected or withdrawn. Don’t do it.
The first category (incorrect information, for example, as part of a Departmental Form), is less grave. There are two key things to note here:
- You can (and should) correct any incorrect information after lodgement, once you discover its inaccuracy. There is a form for this (on paper or in Immiaccount).
- This is generally not considered to be an issue, and the application will be processed with the updated information in mind.
- If you do not correct the incorrect information before a decision is made, you run two major risks:
- That the application will be refused because incorrect information is uncovered, or inconsistencies are found; or
- The application will be approved and the visa granted, but a future application (e.g. for citizenship) will be refused (and PIC4020 imposed upon you). This can lead to your current visa also being cancelled due to your ‘bad character’, which would obviously be a complete disaster.
It’s now, more than ever, essential to be meticulous in ensuring the information provided to the Department is 100% true and accurate. Now that mere omissions in providing evidence are being viewed as offences of character, no applicants can afford to ignore even small mistakes.
The good news:
The Department deals with a lot of fraudsters and liars – but if you correct the record early and honestly, you won’t be counted among them. If your situation is a little more complex, don’t hesitate to reach out and see how we can help you.